How The U.S. Could Halve Climate Emissions By 2030

Environmental groups and business leaders are pushing President Biden to cut U.S. emissions 50 percent by 2030. The question is: what kind of climate policies will work that fast?
To cut carbon emissions, President Biden announced an initiative to further cut the cost of solar installations, like this one being tested at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado. Source: Dennis Schroeder / NREL

Next week, President Biden will announce a number that could shape the rest of his presidency: a new goal to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The announcement marks the country's renewed commitment to the Paris accord, the international climate change agreement that former President Trump withdrew from. Environmental groups, scientists and major business leaders are urging the Biden Administration to cut emissions 50 percent by 2030, as compared to 2005 levels.

That target lines up with scientific assessments of the reductions needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. To limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, emissions need to drop to net-zero by 2050. Above that and sea levels rise to extreme heights, heat waves get more intense, and hurricanes and wildfires become even more destructive.

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