Spotlight Activity: The US Nationally Determined Contribution
The United States committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to “26-28 per cent below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28 percent.” This puts the country on a path to a reduction in emissions of 80 % by 2050.
The U.S. intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement at its earliest opportunity in 2019 and therefore will not uphold its commitment. However, substantial momentum exists at the sub-national level, which Climate Interactive believes will total 20 to 36% of the reductions the U.S. originally committed to.
Status: Falling Behind
The Climate Action Tracker rates the United States’ commitment and subsequent intent to withdraw as “critically insufficient” to meet the 1.5ºC target under the Paris Agreement. Without federal policy to push for the necessary reductions, the U.S. will fail to do its part under the Paris Agreement.
Despite lack of federal action, many sub-national actors including states, municipalities, businesses, and organizations have made their own pledges to contribute to the U.S.’ commitment. Climate Interactive estimates that these pledges will contribute a total of 20 to 36% of the U.S.’ overall pledge, but that they will not be enough to fulfill the entire INDC.
Following the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which would have required many states to abide by stringent greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, the states that produce the largest emissions from coal-fired power plants will have little incentive to reduce their emissions. With falling costs of electricity produced from natural gas and/or renewables, it is possible that coal-fired electricity will begin to decline, but unlikely that it will decline at the pace and magnitude necessary to meet the U.S.’ Paris Agreement targets.
The U.S.’ pledge can be strengthened if President Trump chooses to rejoin the Paris Agreement, but cannot be achieved without a federal policy that supports the emissions reductions to which the U.S. has committed.
Please send the following message to the EPA Administrator:
Dear EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt,
It is important that the United States strengthen the pledge our country has made to the Paris Agreement before the Agreement goes into effect. The U.S. should rejoin the Paris Agreement and create a federal policy to support the reductions originally agreed to in the U.S.’ first NDC of a 26 to 28 percent reduction below 2005 levels by 2025.
Scott Pruitt, Administrator of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Phone: (202) 564-4700
Mail: USEPA Headquarters
William Jefferson Clinton Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W.
Mail Code: 1101A
Washington, DC 20460