By Paul Homewood
h/t Robin Guenier
As Joe Biden rejoins Paris, the pressure grows for meaningful US cuts:
Thirty days after Joe Biden entered the White House, the US is officially back in the Paris Agreement.
On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order notifying the UN that the US was rejoining the Paris Agreement. Now that order has taken effect, the US is expected to submit a new national contribution to the agreement, setting out an emissions target for 2030.
“It’s good to have the US back in the Paris Agreement, but sadly we have no time to celebrate. The climate crisis is deepening and this is the year we need all major polluters to step up and deliver stronger plans to deliver a safe, clean and prosperous future for everyone,” said Laurence Tubiana, head of the European Climate Foundation.
“The US needs to come to Cop26 [climate talks] with a strong commitment: the urgency of the crisis is clear, and this means a new US target of at least 50% GHG cuts on 2005 levels by 2030, ideally more,” Tubiana said.
A series of net zero pledges and upgraded 2030 emissions targets from major polluters – including China, Japan and the EU – last year has put pressure on the US to catch up.
The US is expected to announce its updated 2030 target ahead of a major economies climate summit which Biden will host on Earth Day, 22 April.
Climate Action Tracker previously told Climate Home that the US should reduce its emissions by at least 52% by 2030 through domestic action. Under Obama, the US committed to reducing emissions by 26-28% by 2025, compared to 2005 levels – a target which it is not on track to meet.
Tim Gore, head of the climate programme at The Institute for European Environmental Policy, said that the average US citizen has a carbon footprint ten times higher than the global emissions per capita needed to limit global warming to 1.5C. A 50% reduction by 2030 would not bring US per capita emissions down to EU levels today, he said.
195 climate groups signed a petition this week calling on Biden to ensure that the US contributes its “fair share” to limiting global warming to 1.5C, the toughest target in the Paris Agreement.
US Climate Action Network is calling on the US to reduce its emissions by 195% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. At least 70% should be delivered domestically and the rest by helping developing countries to cut carbon faster, the campaign network said.
“Rejoining the Paris Agreement is the right move for the United States, but it’s just the easy first step. President Biden must follow through on his commitment to do more by centering environmental justice in his approach to the climate crisis globally,” said Karen Orenstein, climate and energy director at climate group Friends of the Earth.
“This includes the United States doing its fair share to keep global temperature rise to 1.5C and providing climate finance for developing countries in line with science, equity, and justice,” said Orenstein.
It is not widely understood how little Obama actually committed to in Paris, with a 26-28% cut from 2005 emissions by 2025. This compares to the UK’s pledge to cut by 49% from 2005 to 2030. The comparison with 1990 levels is even more stark – UK’s 55% compares to the US 14% – as US emissions rose sharply between 1990 and 2005, while in the UK they dropped:
Currently the US has only managed a cut of 10% from 2005 levels.
I suspect Biden will not take kindly to the sort of pressure from Tubiana, for instance, who demands cuts of 55% from 2005 by 2030.
Far from “healing the planet”, Obama barely cut emissions at all in his reign, and they have remained flat since:
So to get to that 55%, the US would need to cut would require a cut of 44% in emissions from 2018 levels. Even the wildest fantasies of AOC and Bernie could not find a way to do that.
Meanwhile, the looby loos think that Biden should cut by 85%:
Texans might not think that such a good idea!
And while all of this is going on, China’s carry on remorselessly rising, and are now more than double the US.