How Biden’s new US climate goals compare to California and global goals

Kern County, CA-March 23: LADWP Pine Tree Wind and Solar Power Plant (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times) in the Tehachapi Mountains, Tuesday, March 23, 2021 in Kern County, California.

California has turned to renewable energies, including those from such wind farms in the Tehachapi Mountains, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Irrfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

For years, California was more ambitious than the United States in the fight against climate change. But now that President Biden has proposed to cut the country’s global warming emissions in half by 2030, the role seems to have reversed.

According to two independent analyses, the new US climate target is slightly more aggressive than California and is one of the most ambitious emission targets in the world.

But it’s still unclear whether state and federal government commitments will require California to do more to reduce pollution, partly due to differences in how emissions are tracked, researchers said. State officials said.

The goal of reducing U.S. emissions by 50-52% from 2005 levels by 2030 is one of 2030’s most ambitious efforts to reduce overall economies below past levels. is. Analysis by research firm Rhodium Group..

Analysis shows that these ambitions lag only the United Kingdom, similar to what the European Union has promised to cut from 2005 levels. The Biden administration’s goals go far beyond the promises of Canada, Japan, Iceland, Norway and Australia.

By comparison, “40% below California’s target of 1990 levels will be about 47% below 2005 levels by 2030,” said Kate Larsen, who created the Rhodium Group’s analysis.

Jason Barboth, senior policy manager of the Union of Concerned Scientists, came to a similar conclusion. He said Biden’s proposed national goal is “somewhat more ambitious than California’s emission limits,” aiming to be 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

If California meets the Biden administration’s goal of reducing pollution by at least 50% from the 2005 level by 2030, it will be “almost equal” to a 44% reduction from the 1990 level. This is 4% larger than California’s existing goal.

State air quality officials said California’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 is equivalent to approximately 260 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. ..

But it’s hard to say whether the Biden administration’s new climate goals actually require the state to reduce emissions more steeply or faster, state officials said.

Dave Kreghan, a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board, says that the difference in how the state and federal governments describe emissions is “incomparable between apples.”

California’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 targets only fossil energy and industrial emissions, with the federal government adding land use, forests, agricultural land, etc. Considering the sector.

Also, Biden’s goal is difficult to determine if California needs to do more, as California is a broad national goal and there are no state-specific contributions.

“Outside California, there are many opportunities to reduce greenhouse gases cheaply,” Kreghan said. “Therefore, without knowing if the Biden administration wants to give the state … a unique level of contribution to achieving its goals, it cannot be said at this time whether that means more is needed in California.”

Rhodium Group’s Larsen agreed that it was too early to say whether the new Biden administration’s goals would require California to reduce more pollution than it had already planned.

“We won’t make any special demands on the state to do more,” she said. This is a national goal and no policy has yet been decided. “

Barbose, the Union of Concerned Scientists, said California’s 2030 climate target is already weaker than other jurisdictions, including Massachusetts, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

“California’s goals aren’t catching up with the rest of the world, and frankly, they’re not catching up with science,” Barbose said. “California (and the United States) has already blown away its share of the world’s carbon balance, according to rational calculations, because it is carbon that can be emitted and can keep global temperatures below critical thresholds. , We need to promise to reduce emissions as soon as possible.

Times staff writer Anna Phillips contributed to this report.

This story was originally Los Angeles Times..