U.S. President Joe Biden has announced that the government will implement a plan to cut emissions by 50%, based on 2005 levels, by the end of the decade. Biden made the announcement while opening a global climate summit on Thursday, April 22.

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The announcement is seen as a result of mounting pressure from environmentalists and hundreds of corporations that recently signed a letter to the current administration to cut emissions in half.

Related: Biden pushes to expand offshore wind energy

The plan, which the government is framing as a 50% to 52% reduction, will be contained in a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) document. Initially, the U.S. had committed to cutting emissions by 25%, based on 2005 levels, come 2025. With former President Trump’s administration reversing all gains and progress toward that mark, the U.S. is far away from achieving that target. The original commitment was made by the Obama administration during the 2015 Paris Agreement, which was signed by a list of countries committed to keeping global warming below 1.5°C from the pre-industrial era. Today, the average annual global temperatures are already 1°C higher.

Speaking in an interview prior to the president’s address, Biden’s national climate adviser, Gina McCarthy, said that achieving a 50% cut in emissions is possible. McCarthy explained that the government’s existing $2 trillion infrastructure plan will take the country in the right direction in cutting emissions.

“This is not a challenge that we should shy away from,” McCarthy said.
“We are talking about trains. We are talking about ships. We are talking about an opportunity to advance our transportation sector by investing in electric vehicles and battery manufacturing here in the United States, both for vehicles, but also for battery storage opportunities. We’re talking about building a new resilient grid.”

The administration also said that investment in green power and technology will lead to more jobs and economic growth.

Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, said, “It has to be that Americans see and experience that the investments in building out a more resilient power grid actually improve their lives and create job opportunities for them or their neighbors or otherwise.”


Image via Egor Shitikov