Biden seeks to reduce US CO2 emissions by as much as 52% by '30

Author: Sunny Roe

2021/04/22

HOUSTON (ICIS)--President Joe Biden announced at the Leaders Summit on Climate on Thursday that the US will reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 50-52% below its 2005 levels by 2030.

The GHG reduction target is the US’ contribution to the Paris Agreement, which Biden reentered at the start of his presidency. Biden organised the Leaders Summit on Climate, inviting 40 world leaders to announce ambitious GHG reduction targets as the US administration looks to realign the country’s efforts to mitigate climate change.

The White House has outlined the administration’s climate goals including:

  • A 50-52% GHG reduction from 2005 levels by 2030
  • Net zero carbon emissions by 2050
  • Zero carbon power sector by 2035
  • Electrification of buildings
  • Reduction of transportation sector emissions
  • Lowering carbon emissions from industrial processes
  • Investment in innovation

The Biden administration has released proposals such as the $2tr infrastructure plan, which would accelerate efforts to a clean energy transition in the power and transportation sectors, as well as ramping up funding for research and clean-energy solutions. However, it is unclear if the package will be amended and if it will be able to be passed, even with a simple majority in a budget reconciliation procedure.

Budget reconciliation is a parliamentarian procedure that bypasses the two-third majority requirement with spending legislation, so that a bill can be passed with a simple majority. If Democrats used this procedure with the infrastructure initiative, the outcome of it passing into law would become more likely. However, it may still need bipartisan support to pass through the Senate as Senator Joe Manchin (Democrat-West Virginia) expressed on Wednesday his opposition to passing climate policy with a simple majority via the budget reconciliation process.

Democrats have also introduced proposals to meet President Biden’s power-sector target of a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 in the CLEAN Future Act. However, the bill would need bipartisan support to pass through the Senate under the 60-vote rule. There is currently no concrete plan to reach Biden’s newly announced goal to reduce emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030.

(adds details about climate goals, paragraph 3-4)
(adds details a budget reconciliation, paragraph 6)