Biden presidency could slash US emissions by 54%

 Joe Biden’s climate pledges could see US carbon emissions cut by 38%-54% below 2005 levels by the end of this decade. 

This is according to a recent report from non-profit Climate Analytics, which models the possible range of climate ambitions that a Biden administration could table.

The president-elect has unveiled a $2trn package to slash emissions through energy efficiency upgrades on 
4m buildings over the next four years, charting “an irreversible path” to net-zero by 2050. However, his plans for a carbon-neutral energy system by 2035 represent the most significant contribution, according to the latest report. They could also create millions of new jobs.

Biden is also expected to deposit a new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) during the second half 
of 2021, after promising to start the process of rejoining the Paris Agreement on the first day of his administration.

“President-elect Biden’s victory is clearly a massive shot in the arm for the international fight against climate change,” said Kevin Rudd, president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, which co-produced the report. “An early demonstration of his determination will be the development of an ambitious and far-reaching NDC in the lead-up to COP26, especially one which provides the US a strong arrow in its diplomatic quiver for encouraging other major emitters to also raise their short-term ambition.”

Biden’s plans are in contrast to the actions of president Donald Trump, who has called climate change a “hoax” 
and rolled back environmental regulations on oil and gas production. However, Biden may have to issue executive orders if he fails to agree legislation with the Senate, and these could be open to legal challenges. The Supreme Court would rule on any litigation, and the court’s strong conservative majority may present a significant problem.

Nevertheless, scientific analysis by Climate Action Tracker shows that Biden’s 2050 net-zero emissions pledge could shave up to 0.14°C off global warming by the end of the century. When coupled with China’s pledge to bring emissions to net-zero before 2060, and the EU, Japan and South Korea’s 2050 commitments, the researchers claim that limiting global temperature rises to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels may now be within reach.

“These commitments are very close, if not within, 1.5°C-consistent pathways for this set of countries, and for the first time ever, put the Paris Agreement’s 1.5˚C limit within striking distance.” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics.

Read the full Climate Analytics report at bit.ly/3qdLGW6

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