Biden pushed emission targets as the climate summit approached

Washington (AP) — When President Joe Biden hosts the Virtual Climate Summit on Thursday, he faces a daunting challenge. The United States, but all over the world.

The eagerly awaited emission targets in all aspects of the climate controversy show how aggressive Biden wants to tackle climate change. Biden is not advanced enough to deal with a serious threat to the planet.

The climate crisis poses a complex political challenge for Biden, as it is less recognizable and much more difficult to produce measurable results than pandemic bailout packages and infrastructure bills.

Biden’s goal was to “set the tone of ambition and pace of emission reductions over the next decade,” said Kate, a former White House adviser who helped President Barack Obama develop a climate action plan. Larsen says.

According to Larsen and other experts, this number needs to be achievable by 2030, but will satisfy scientists and supporters who call the next decade an important decisive moment for delaying climate change. Aggressive enough to make you.

Scientists, environmental groups, and even business leaders are calling on Biden to set a goal of reducing US greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% from 2005 levels by 2030.

The 50% target, which most experts consider likely to be the result of intense deliberations underway at the White House, almost doubles the country’s previous commitment to renewable energies such as wind and solar. It requires dramatic changes in the electricity and transportation sectors, including significant increases. Significant reductions in electricity and emissions from fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

Experts say that less than that goal can undermine Biden’s promise to prevent temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius, while from international allies and Biden’s own supporters. May stir up sharp criticism of.

This goal is important not only as a visible goal for the United States to achieve after four years of climate change inaction under President Donald Trump, but also to “utilize other countries,” Larsen said. Said. “It will help domestically in subsequent battles in implementing policies to achieve that goal. If other countries are acting with the same level of ambition as the United States, we are politically domestically. You can make a better case. “

The nationally determined contribution, or goal for 2030, known as the NDC, is an important part of the Paris Agreement, in which Biden rejoined on his first day in office. It is also an important marker as Biden is moving towards his ultimate goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

“Clearly, science demands at least 50% to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030,” said Jake Schmidt, a climate expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a major environmental group. There are. “

The 50% goal is “ambitious, but achievable,” he said in an interview. It’s also a good climate message, he said: “People know what 50% means — it’s half.”

Whatever Biden chooses, the Climate Summit itself “proves that the United States is rejoining its international efforts” to address climate change, an independent study now. Larsen, director of the company Rhodium Group, said.

She said the summit was the “starting point for climate diplomacy” after a four-year “pause” under Trump. Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, has pressured world leaders directly and online prior to the summit, seeking commitment and alliances in tackling climate change.

Another former Obama White House adviser and now Vice President of the Environmental Defense Fund, Nat Keohane, said experts had united the need to reduce emissions by at least 50% by 2030.

“The numbers must start with 5,” he added. At least 50% is needed “

The 2030 goal is just one of Biden’s sometimes overlapping goals outlining climate. He also said he hopes to adopt clean energy standards that will make electricity carbon-free by 2035, with a broader goal of zero carbon emissions across the economy by 2050. I will.

Biden’s climate adviser Gina McCarthy acknowledged that huge numbers can be confusing. At a forum last week, she and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said climate activists should focus on what to do in the next decade.

“Stop talking about the 2050,” said McCarthyism, who is leading the White House’s efforts to develop the United States’ commitment to climate change in 2030.

Bloomberg, 79, was even more straightforward. 2050 is “a good number for those who make speeches, but no one knows who will make a speech that will survive in 2050.”

Some Republicans say Biden’s plans will raise energy costs, kill U.S. jobs and allow Russia, China and other countries to increase greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. emissions. It is called focusing on reducing the amount counterproductively.

“The Biden administration sets US penalties, but adversaries maintain the status quo. It doesn’t solve climate change,” said Senator John Wyoming, a top Republican of the Senate Energy Commission.・ Barrasso said. Barasso said the United States is already a world leader in reducing carbon emissions, and Biden should strive to “clean up US energy as soon as possible without increasing consumer costs.” Added.

Some on the left think Biden isn’t advanced enough.

New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who called for a large Green New Deal, said Biden was “a lot of praise” for his vision and scope of infrastructure planning, but that’s what it needs to be meaningful. Said that it was far less than that. Fight the climate crisis. She and her supporters are calling for at least $ 10 trillion in federal spending over the next decade to address climate change and other issues.

McCarthy disputed the idea that Biden had receded from the campaign’s promise to lead climate change.

“We are always either too few or too many,” she told reporters earlier this month. “But rest assured that the president has given here a (spending) number that he felt he needed to meet at this moment, as well as being defensive.”

Much of the spending proposed to address climate change is included in Biden’s $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure bill.

If Republicans think they should spend less money on clean energy and infrastructure, McCarthy added, “then we’ll have those conversations.”

Marcella Burke, a former Trump administration official who is now an energy lawyer in Houston, has given Biden an “A-Plus for enthusiasm” about climate, but the details are incomplete. “We had many goals, but not many strategies announced to reach them,” she said. “So the jury hasn’t come out yet.”


AP science writer Seth Borenstein contributed to this report.