The US government formally committed itself on Tuesday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28% from 2005 levels in the next ten years, described ambitious by some but not good enough by ecologists.
This goal set by US President Barack Obama during his visit to China last November is included in a document that Washington sent to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Tuesday, White House senior adviser Brian Deese said.
The goal will be put on the table at the UN climate conference in Paris later this year.
This emission cut target by the US signifies double the reduction previously planned for, between 2005 and 2020, and was part of an accord with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who had vowed that China’s emission levels would reach their highest point in 2030, after which they would be gradually reduced.
Deese said that the target was “ambitious and achievable” and the US had “the tools we need to reach it”, adding that it would “roughly double the pace at which we’re reducing carbon pollution through cost-effective measures”.
“With today’s submission of the US target, countries accounting for more than half of the total carbon pollution from the energy sector have submitted or announced what they will do in the post-2020 period to combat climate change,” Deese said.
“That includes Mexico, our close economic partner, which set a high standard of ambition for similar countries when they became the first emerging economy to submit their climate target to the UN,” said the White House adviser.
The Mexican government committed itself last Friday to reduce by 25 percent the country’s greenhouse gas emissions previously forecast for 2030, a cut that could climb to 40 percent with international aid.
The rest of the countries with the highest emissions that have already sent concrete commitments to the UN about their plans after 2020 are the 28 countries of the European Union (EU) and China, according to Deese.
“It’s time for other countries to do what the United States, Mexico, and the EU members have done and submit timely, transparent, measurable, and above all, ambitious targets for cutting carbon pollution and building lower-carbon economies to the UNFCCC,” Deese noted.