The first anniversary of the United States officially re-joining the 2015 Paris Agreement is today.
All signatories to the Paris Agreement must establish and adhere to emissions reduction pledges. US president Joe Biden has taken steps towards the pledge, like ending the US-Canada Keystone XL Pipeline.
However, the administration’s efforts are not enough to meet its most ambitious climate goals, like moving the US power grid off fossil fuels by 2035 and cutting total US greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. In fact, US greenhouse gas emissions were up 6% in 2021 from 2020.
On the other hand, the US is funding more clean energy abroad and restricting US finance for dirty energy projects while pledging to end it entirely by 2023.
Biden’s climate legislative agenda is severely constrained by a small faction in the Democrat party. Thus, expect the administration to continue focusing on emission reduction abroad to make up for domestic shortfalls and restore US climate leadership battered by anti-climate change policies under President Trump. In the long run, if Biden loses the presidency in 2024, the prospect of failure in achieving a 50% emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2030 will increase significantly.
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Alan is an analyst with the Current Developments team, focusing on security and politics, particularly within the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Africa. He contributes regularly to the Daily Brief.