President Biden today announced his anticipated interim climate target for the U.S., setting a commitment to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 50-52% in 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

The new commitment forms the U.S.’ Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), a centerpiece of countries’ obligations under the Paris Agreement outlining their pathways to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Biden is announcing the new goal ahead of today’s Leaders Summit on Climate, which the U.S. leader is hosting. The summit of world leaders aims to underscore the urgency and the economic benefits of stronger climate action, and to act as a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow.

The President has made climate action a key focus of his new administration, with high profile initiatives including returning the U.S. to the Paris Agreement on his first day in office, the signing of executive actions aimed at promoting the transition to renewable energy, and the recent release of his American Jobs Plan, allocating massive amounts of expenditure to key sustainable investment areas including clean energy, electrification, climate resilience and emissions reduction technologies.

According to a White House statement, the new 2030 target was developed by the National Climate Task Force using a whole-of-government approach, relying on a detailed bottom-up analysis that reviewed technology availability, current costs, and future cost reductions, as well as the role of enabling infrastructure.  The administration consulted multiple stakeholders including government leaders, businesses, scientists and union leaders on the formation of the NDC, and considered analysis exploring multiple pathways for each economic sector of the economy that produces GHG emissions, including electricity, transportation, buildings, industry, and lands, according to the White House.

Today’s announcement comes as countries are increasingly setting ambitious climate goals. Earlier this week, the UK released its new Carbon Budget, introducing a new commitment to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he will use events like today’s conference and the upcoming UN Climate Summit, COP26, to encourage world leaders to set stretch targets for emissions reduction.

The new goal aligns with calls by business leaders and investors for an ambitious NDC. Last week, hundreds of businesses signed an open letter organized by the We Mean Business coalition and non-profit sustainability organization Ceres, urging the administration to adopt a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030.

Welcoming today’s announcement, Ceres CEO and President Mindy Lubber said:

“The Biden administration’s bold, ambitious national emissions reduction target will help catalyze a net-zero future, which is critical to our efforts to build a strong, more equitable, and more inclusive U.S. economy. Communities across the country continue to feel the impacts of the climate crisis, which is growing worse by the day. From recent extreme weather to deadly wildfires and record-breaking hurricanes, the human and economic losses this past year alone are profound—and they disproportionately hit marginalized and low-income communities. With a strong NDC, and a more determined private sector than ever before, we can tackle this crisis head on to better protect our health, communities, and economy while creating good-paying jobs.”

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