Biden administration releases US national climate plan

Here’s what that means for the Paris Agreement

You’ve probably heard of the Paris Climate Agreement, the world’s hallmark climate action framework. At the core of the agreement are national climate plans, also known as Nationally Determined Contributions. But what exactly is that?

Each country develops its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate impacts. By remaining rooted in local contexts while linking into a global framework, the agreement aims to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius—the amount that scientists say is necessary to avoid catastrophic repercussions.

In 2015, President Obama made an initial commitment to cut US emissions by 26%-28%, and on Earth Day, the Biden administration took a big step forward by releasing the US national climate plan at the international Leaders Climate Summit that nearly doubles that commitment with a pledge to cut US emissions by at least 50% from 2005 levels by 2030.

“As President Biden has said before, the international community responds to the power of our example, not just the example of our power. Today’s announcement of a new US target for the Paris Agreement leverages that principle. By setting a target in line with the science, President Biden has re-established the US as a leader in global climate ambition. The new target creates momentum, alongside this week’s Leaders Climate Summit, for other nations to make similar commitments heading into the Glasgow COP later this year. And it aligns with what a growing chorus of voices from the private sector and across society have called for – making clear that the president has broad support across sectors for this new goal. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration, business leaders, cities, states, and other entities to help deliver the results needed to achieve this new target by 2030."

Carter Roberts President and CEO, WWF

As the impacts of the climate crisis intensify, the US should deliver greenhouse gas emissions reductions at the scale the science demands. The good news is that those targets are not only necessary, but they’re also doable, according to a new report from America Is All In.

To reach these goals, the federal government, state governments, cities, and companies must decarbonize the entire economy. That means not only accelerating a just transition to clean energy but also electrifying transportation and harnessing the power of nature.

It’s urgent that we ramp up the pressure to make sure our leaders act at the scale the science demands. Our communities and wildlife are at stake. If we act now, we can avoid catastrophic climate impacts.