Virtual Climate Summit: Biden to announce US aims to reduce carbon emissions by 50-52% by 2030

At the White House summit, which will take place virtually on Thursday and Friday, Biden will commit the United States to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 5030 -52% below 2005 emission levels by 2030.

Officials said Biden and his team reached the final number in a White House meeting on Wednesday morning.

The figures were shown after lengthy consultations with government agencies, scientists, industry representatives, governors, mayors and environmental researchers. The move underscores the president’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis and follows on from his promise to work with other countries to find joint solutions to global issues.

When then-President Barack Obama first joined the Paris climate agreement in 2015, he promised to reduce emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025, which would make the new 50% -52% a big leap . A second official said the higher target would give the US “huge leverage” to persuade other countries to step up their ambitions ahead of a climate summit in Glasgow later this year.

Biden aims to promote American credibility on climate change and galvanize world leaders at a virtual summit

What the president will not reveal at least for now is a specific roadmap for how the United States will achieve its targets, described as ‘economy-wide’. Officials described “multiple paths” for the US to reach the goal, saying the president’s climate change task force would announce sector-by-sector recommendations later this year to make the necessary cuts.

“This is something we can achieve in various ways to reach the target,” a senior administration official said a day before the announcement.

“In the coming months, you will continue to see from the government a focus on promoting the necessary actions that unlock the jobs that the climate crisis offers,” the senior administration official said.

Several members of the Biden cabinet will play a role during the summit, including hosting sessions, discussing the sessions and discussing how their role or department or agency relates to issues surrounding the climate crisis, an official said. of the administration said earlier this week.

According to the official, the summit will focus on mobilizing public and private sector to achieve net emissions and build a resilient future. The US plans to discuss investments in innovation, which the government says are critical to creating transformation technologies to reduce emissions while creating new economic opportunities.

The hope is that other countries will follow the lead of the US with additional announcements of new targets to deal with the crisis, the administrative official said.

“There is an important sign that we will act at this meeting. We are looking for people to make announcements, to increase their ambition, to indicate the next steps they want to take to solve the climate problem, “said the official. .

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are two notable leaders who have both confirmed their attendance at the summit, highlighting the wide range of leaders who have attended. The summit will also be attended by many US allies, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The summit is a clear departure from how the climate has been over the past four years under former President Donald Trump. The former president has repeatedly denied the scientific reality of the climate crisis and his government has systematically reversed environmental policies.

Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement, but Biden administration officials said work to reduce carbon emissions was continuing at the state and local level anyway, preventing the U.S. from losing too much ground.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, told “The Ax Files with David Axelrod” that although Trump has been pushing back environmental policy for the past four years, “our private sector has not turned back the clock and our state. did not turn back, and the American people in general did not turn it back. ‘

“We need to build on what we’re doing during these four years so that it’s harder for another government to turn things around so quickly,” Thomas-Greenfield told Axelrod, a senior political commentator for CNN.

Since taking office in January, Biden has stepped up climate change as an essential element of U.S. foreign policy and national security. The US has re-entered the Paris climate agreement, the international agreement signed in 2015 to limit global warming, which Trump took out of the US.

Biden has appointed former Secretary of State John Kerry as its special presidential envoy for climate change, a cabinet position sitting on the National Security Council. The president also named Gina McCarthy, a former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, as its president in the White House to lead his newly established Office of Home Climate Policy.

Climate is a major focus of the president’s $ 2 billion infrastructure proposal. He said his proposal would create hundreds of thousands of jobs while tackling the climate crisis, reducing emissions and building a ‘modern, resilient and completely clean network’.

Biden is expected to focus strongly on the potential economic blessings that combating climate change can provide. His critics described attempts to shift the country from fossil fuels to working killers. But Biden hopes to highlight the opportunities associated with refurbishing technology to make it cleaner.

“There is only one playbook that is working at the moment, and the playbook is what is chasing you to the economic opportunity that is tackling the climate crisis, and we are doing that,” the senior administration said.

Officials said they had conducted a “techno-economic” analysis in different sectors – including electricity, transport, buildings, industries, countries and oceans – to identify different ways to reduce emissions in each. This included the potential for new standards and incentives that would limit greenhouse gases.

“The 2030 target is a target that we believe we can achieve,” the senior administration official said.

As a presidential candidate, Biden has proposed a plan to end the carbon emissions from power plants by 2035, and has proposed wider public investment in green infrastructure, including $ 2 billion for clean energy projects.

This is a striking story and will be updated.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.