EDF Welcomes New U.S. Emissions Reductions Pledge

The test for national commitments is whether they are sufficient to turn the corner toward climate stability

March 31, 2015
Jennifer Andreassen, +1-202-572-3387, jandreassen@edf.org

(WASHINGTON/ NEW YORK – March 31, 2015)  With the United States today confirming its commitment to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, countries representing more than half of global energy-related carbon emissions have now put their targets on the table, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said. The U.S. pledge, which comes in advance of United Nations climate negotiations set to take place in Paris in December 2015, follows commitments from the 28 countries of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, and Mexico, as well as the leader-level announcement made by Chinese President Xi Jinping in November.

“To win the fight against climate change, the world first needs to turn the corner on global greenhouse gas emissions, so that they stop rising and start falling,” said Nathaniel Keohane, EDF Vice President for International Climate and a former economic adviser in the Obama Administration. “Ultimately, the science is clear that the U.S. and other major emitters will need to do more to reduce emissions.”

“The test for Paris is whether the emission reductions commitments that countries make are enough to ensure that the world makes that turn. The U.S. target, along with the pledges made by the EU, China, and others, means that for the first time we can see that turn happening,” Keohane said.

The target announced by the U.S. today formalizes what President Obama announced in November in Beijing, and builds on his 2009 commitment to cut emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Meeting the 2025 target will require the U.S., from 2020 to 2025, to double the current pace of annual emissions reductions. The more ambitious end of the target range (a 28% reduction) is also in line with the President’s previously announced long-term target of reducing emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. In today’s announcement, the U.S. confirmed that it expects to be able to meet the new goal without new legislation.

“Today’s announcement provides clear direction to the investors and entrepreneurs who are building the new clean energy economy, and reaffirms the U.S. role as a global leader for the twenty-first century,” said Keohane.

Last week, Mexico became the first emerging economy to announce its commitment, pledging to peak those emissions by 2026 and reduce them 22% below a predetermined “business as usual” level by 2030. The U.S. and Mexico have announced plans to work together on a high-level climate policy task force.

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