Are Biden's climate change targets ambitious enough?
On April 22 ( Earth Day)vand 23, United States President Joe Biden invited 40 world leaders to a virtual Leaders Summit. The purpose of this summit was to encourage large economies to cooperatively tackle the climate crisis and set more ambitious targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The Leaders Summit was convened not only to pressure other polluting economies to ramp up climate ambition but also to announce the US’ new Nationally Determined Contribution or NDC under the Paris Agreement.
But all eyes were on the US. An ambitious NDC in line with the US’ historical responsibility and current emissions, of which it is the second largest emitter, was key. It would be one among many moves that could help rebuild trust among skeptics, who have seen the US water down climate treaties since the 1990s and continue to build a carbon-intensive economy.
Ahead of the Summit, White House officials indicated that the Biden administration would pledge to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by the end of the decade. This target was backed in an open letter signed by 400+ large corporations under the We Mean Business coalition as well as entities like the World Resources Institute, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.