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The White House has officially submitted its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the UN Paris climate talks in December.

The US government outlined its plan to tackle climate change, pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28% by 2025 relative to 2005 levels and aiming to an 80% cut in emissions by 2050. Being the US one of the main emitters of greenhouse gases, this commitment will certainly contribute to the success of the UN Paris climate talks in December, increasing the chances of reaching a global climate agreement.

According to the White House climate adviser Brian Deese, “the United States’ target is ambitious and achievable”, and the state department climate envoy Todd Stern believes that a future Republican President or Republicans in Congress will not be able to undone this regulation easily; on the other hand, Republicans say Obama will not be able to fulfil its commitment to the UN.

With the US joining the EU, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland, the countries accounting for nearly 60% of greenhouse gas emissions from energy have issued their proposals for fighting climate change in the 2020s and beyond, and hopefully more countries will outline their plans over the next few months, creating a solid basis for a global agreement to limit global warming to 2C. However, most countries missed the 31 March deadline for submitting their so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UN, and many of them – including big polluters such as Japan, Brazil or India – probably will not issue their commitments until October.

Campaignershailed the US plan, but believe that its effectiveness will depend on the forthcoming enhancement of strong rules to cut carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.

The pledges made ahead of the Paris summit are unlikely to guarantee a satisfying reduction in greenhouse gas emissions levels, but many are hoping that in Paris States will agree on a review mechanism to raise the ambitions of countries’ planned emissions cuts.


The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project
Wednesday, 1 April 2015
(Source: Guardian)