Building on Past U.S. Leadership, including Efforts by States, Cities, Tribes, and Territories, the New Target Aims at 50-52 Percent Reduction in U.S. Greenhouse Gas Pollution from 2005 Levels in 2030
On Earth Day 2021, President Biden announced a new target for the United States to achieve a 50-52 percent reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution in 2030 – building on progress to-date and by positioning American workers and industry to tackle the climate crisis.
The announcement – made during the Leaders Summit on Climate that President Biden is holding to challenge the world on increased ambition in combating climate change – is part of the President’s focus on building back better in a way that will create millions of good-paying, union jobs, ensure economic competitiveness, advance environmental justice, and improve the health and security of communities across America.
Biden has said often that when he hears the phrase “climate action,” he thinks “jobs.”
This is a fact sheet from the White House:
On Day One, President Biden fulfilled his promise to rejoin the Paris Agreement and set a course for the United States to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad, reaching net zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050. As part of re-entering the Paris Agreement, he also launched a whole-of-government process, organized through his National Climate Task Force, to establish this new 2030 emissions target – known as the “nationally determined contribution” or “NDC,” a formal submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Today’s announcement is the product of this government-wide assessment of how to make the most of the opportunity combating climate change presents.
PUSHING PROGRESS, CREATING JOBS, AND ACHIEVING JUSTICE
The United States is not waiting, the costs of delay are too great, and our nation is resolved to act now. Climate change poses an existential threat, but responding to this threat offers an opportunity to support good-paying, union jobs, strengthen America’s working communities, protect public health, and advance environmental justice. Creating jobs and tackling climate change go hand in hand – empowering the U.S. to build more resilient infrastructure, expand access to clean air and drinking water, spur American technological innovations, and create good-paying, union jobs along the way.
To develop the goal, the Administration analyzed how every sector of the economy can spur innovation, unleash new opportunities, drive competitiveness, and cut pollution. The target builds on leadership from mayors, county executives, governors, tribal leaders, businesses, faith groups, cultural institutions, health care organizations, investors, and communities who have worked together tirelessly to ensure sustained progress in reducing pollution in the United States.
Building on and benefiting from that foundation, America’s 2030 target picks up the pace of emissions reductions in the United States, compared to historical levels, while supporting President Biden’s existing goals to create a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and net zero emissions economy by no later than 2050. There are multiple paths to reach these goals, and the U.S. federal, state, local, and tribal governments have many tools available to work with civil society and the private sector to mobilize investment to meet these goals while supporting a strong economy.
SUPPORTING AMERICAN WORKERS
This target prioritizes American workers. Meeting the 2030 emissions target will create millions of good-paying, middle class, union jobs – line workers who will lay thousands of miles of transmission lines for a clean, modern, resilient grid; workers capping abandoned wells and reclaiming mines and stopping methane leaks; autoworkers building modern, efficient, electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure to support them; engineers and construction workers expanding carbon capture and green hydrogen to forge cleaner steel and cement; and farmers using cutting-edge tools to make American soil the next frontier of carbon innovation.
The health of our communities, well-being of our workers, and competitiveness of our economy requires this quick and bold action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We must:
- Invest in infrastructure and innovation. America must lead the critical industries that produce and deploy the clean technologies that we can harness today – and the ones that we will improve and invent tomorrow.
- Fuel an economic recovery that creates jobs. We have the opportunity to fuel an equitable recovery, expand supply chains and bolster manufacturing, create millions of good-paying, union jobs, and build a more sustainable, resilient future.
- Breathe clean air and drink clean water and advance environmental justice. We can improve the health and well-being of our families and communities – especially those places too often left out and left behind.
- Make it in America. We can bolster our domestic supply chains and position the U.S. to ship American-made, clean energy products — like EV batteries – around the world.
MEETING THE MOMENT
The target is consistent with the President’s goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050 and of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as the science demands. To develop the target, the Administration:
- Used a whole-of-government approach: The NDC was developed by the National Climate Task Force using a whole-of-government approach, relying on a detailed bottom-up analysis that reviewed technology availability, current costs, and future cost reductions, as well as the role of enabling infrastructure. Standards, incentives, programs, and support for innovation were all weighed in the analysis. The National Climate Task Force is developing this into a national climate strategy to be issued later this year.
- Consulted important and diverse stakeholders: From unions that collectively bargain for millions of Americans who have built our country and work to keep it running to groups representing tens of millions of advocates and young Americans, the Administration listened to Americans across the country. This also included groups representing thousands of scientists; hundreds of governmental leaders like governors, mayors, and tribal leaders; hundreds of businesses; hundreds of schools and institutions of higher education; as well as with many specialized researchers focused on questions of pollution reduction.
- Explored multiple pathways across the economy: The target is grounded in analysis that explored multiple pathways for each economic sector of the economy that produces CO2 and non-CO2 greenhouse gases: electricity, transportation, buildings, industry, and lands.
Each policy considered for reducing emissions is also an opportunity to support good jobs and improve equity:
- The United States has set a goal to reach 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035, which can be achieved through multiple cost-effective pathways each resulting in meaningful emissions reductions in this decade. That means good-paying jobs deploying carbon pollution-free electricity generating resources, transmission, and energy storage and leveraging the carbon pollution-free energy potential of power plants retrofitted with carbon capture and existing nuclear, while ensuring those facilities meet robust and rigorous standards for worker, public, environmental safety and environmental justice.
- The United States can create good-paying jobs and cut emissions and energy costs for families by supporting efficiency upgrades and electrification in buildings through support for job-creating retrofit programs and sustainable affordable housing, wider use of heat pumps and induction stoves, and adoption of modern energy codes for new buildings. The United States will also invest in new technologies to reduce emissions associated with construction, including for high-performance electrified buildings.
- The United States can reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector by reducing tailpipe emissions and boosting the efficiency of cars and trucks; providing funding for charging infrastructure; and spurring research, development, demonstration, and deployment efforts that drive forward very low carbon new-generation renewable fuels for applications like aviation, and other cutting-edge transportation technologies across modes. Investment in a wider array of transportation infrastructure, including transit, rail, and biking improvements, will make more choices available to travelers.
- The United States can reduce emissions from forests and agriculture and enhance carbon sinks through a range of programs and measures including nature-based solutions for ecosystems ranging from our forests and agricultural soils to our rivers and coasts. Ocean-based solutions can also contribute towards reducing U.S. emissions.
- The United States can address carbon pollution from industrial processes by supporting carbon capture as well as new sources of hydrogen—produced from renewable energy, nuclear energy, or waste—to power industrial facilities. The government can use its procurement power to support early markets for these very low- and zero-carbon industrial goods.
- The United States will also reduce non-CO2 greenhouse gases, including methane, hydrofluorocarbons and other potent short-lived climate pollutants. Reducing these pollutants delivers fast climate benefits.
- In addition, the United States will invest in innovation to improve and broaden the set of solutions as a critical complement to deploying the affordable, reliable, and resilient clean technologies and infrastructure available today.
America must act— and not just the federal government, but cities and states, small and big business, working communities. Together, we can seize the opportunity to drive prosperity, create jobs, and build the clean energy economy of tomorrow.