Virtual climate summit: Biden announces US will aim to reduce carbon emissions by 50-52% by 2030

At the White House summit, which will take place almost Thursday and Friday, Biden will commit the United States to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% -52% below its 2005 emission levels by 2030.

Officials said Biden and his team arrived at the final number of a White House meeting Wednesday morning.

The figures were beaten after lengthy consultations with government agencies, researchers, industry representatives, governors, mayors and environmental researchers. The movement emphasizes the president’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis and follows his promise to work with other countries to find common solutions to global issues.

When then-President Barack Obama first joined the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, he promised to reduce emissions by a range – 26% to 28% – by 2025, making the new 50% -52% cut to a big leap. Another official said the higher target would give the US “significant leverage” in convincing other countries to raise their ambitions ahead of a climate summit in Glasgow later this year.

Biden aims to cement US credibility on the climate and galvanize world leaders at the virtual summit

What the president will not reveal, at least right now, is a specific roadmap for how the United States will achieve these goals, which are described as “economy-wide.” Officials described “several avenues” for the United States to achieve the goal, saying the president’s climate task force would release sector-by-sector recommendations later in the year to achieve the necessary cuts.

“Achieving this goal is something we can do in several ways,” a senior official said a day prior to the announcement.

“In the coming months, you will continue to see from the administration a focus on promoting the necessary actions that free up the job opportunities that the tackling of the climate crisis provides,” the senior administration official said.

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

The summit will focus on mobilizing public and private sector funding to achieve net-zero emissions and “build a resilient future,” according to the official. The United States plans to discuss investment in innovation, which the administration argues is crucial to creating transformation technologies to reduce emissions while creating new economic opportunities.

It is hoped that other countries will follow the US leadership with further announcements of new targets to tackle the crisis, the administration official said.

“There is a clear indication that we expect action at this meeting. We are looking for people to make statements, raise their ambition and outline the next steps they intend to take to help address the climate issue,” the official said. . .

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

The summit is a sharp departure from how the climate was approximated over the past four years under former President Donald Trump. The former president repeatedly denied the scientific reality of the climate crisis, and his administration systematically rolled back environmental policies.

Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement, but Biden administration officials said efforts to reduce carbon emissions continued at the state and local levels, preventing the United States from losing too much ground.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, told “The Ax Files with David Axelrod” that although Trump rolled back environmental policies over the last four years, “our private sector did not turn the clock and our state back governments did not return “and the American people did not return.”

“It is up to us to continue to build on what we do during these four years, so it’s harder for another administration to turn things around just as quickly,” Thomas-Greenfield told Axelrod, a senior politician. commentator for CNN.

Since joining in January, Biden has raised climate change as an essential element of US foreign policy and national security. The United States reintroduced the Paris Climate Agreement, the milestone international agreement signed in 2015 to curb global warming, which Trump pulled the United States out of.

Biden appointed former Secretary of State John Kerry as his special presidential envoy for the climate, a cabinet-level position that sits on the National Security Council. The president also appointed Gina McCarthy, a former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, as her White House climate czar to head her newly created office for domestic climate policy.

Climate is a major focus in the president’s approx. $ 2 trillion infrastructure proposal. He has said his proposal will create hundreds of thousands of jobs while tackling the climate crisis, reducing emissions and building a “modern, resilient and completely clean network.”

It is expected that Biden will focus strongly on the potential economic blessing that combating climate change may bring. His critics have described attempts to move the country away from fossil fuels as job killers. But Biden hopes to highlight the opportunities that will come along with overhauling technology to make it cleaner.

“There is only one playbook that works at the moment, and that playbook is that you are hunting for the economic opportunity that the tackling of the climate crisis provides, and we do,” said the top administration official.

Officials said they conducted a “techno-economic” analysis across different sectors – including electricity, transport, buildings, industry, countries and seas – to identify different ways to reduce emissions in each one. 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 top administration official said.

As a presidential candidate, Biden put forward a plan to end carbon emissions from power plants by 2035 and proposed a broader public investment in green infrastructure, including $ 2 trillion for clean energy projects.

This is a groundbreaking story and will be updated.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.