March 31, 2015

U.S. Emission Reduction Pledge Ambitious in Light of Washington Politics

Statements by Ken Kimmell and Alden Meyer

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 31, 2015) – The White House today announced that the United States will reduce its heat-trapping emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The announcement comes as part of the U.N. climate negotiations, under which the United States and other countries have agreed to put forward emissions reduction targets and outline the actions that will make these reductions possible. The reduction targets and action plans are known as Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions (INDCs), and will form the basis for the U.N. climate agreement that is slated to be finalized in Paris this coming December. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the U.S. INDC is impressive given the political climate in Washington.

Below are statements from UCS President Ken Kimmell and UCS Director of Strategy and Policy Alden Meyer.

Kimmell’s statement:

“The administration’s announcement is impressive and ambitious given the current stalemate in Washington. But at the state level, we see greater bipartisanship and more ambitious emission reduction goals, which tells us that we can do more nationally.

“Carbon pricing programs in nine Northeast states and California have reduced emissions and generated investments in clean energy and energy efficiency, which are helping save consumers money. Renewable electricity standards, which are in place in 29 states and the District of Columbia, have spurred the growth of wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy across the country, while far-sighted federal standards and state financial incentives are putting more and more fuel efficient and clean cars on the road and reducing our dependence on oil.

“The president’s announcement today not only shows leadership in the international negotiations, but also underscores his commitment to help spread these benefits to even more states across the country.”

Meyer’s statement:

“The U.S. proposal demonstrates real leadership, and should encourage other countries to put forward solid offers in the run-up to Paris. While the United States can and should do even more to reduce its emissions over the next decade, the U.S. offer is quite ambitious, given Congress’ unwillingness to take any action to deal with climate change. It underscores President Obama’s continued commitment to making full use of his existing authority to address the climate crisis.

“Meeting the goal put forward today will not only cut the carbon pollution that is endangering the climate, but will also reduce conventional pollutants that threaten public health and bolster the clean energy economy. All Americans will benefit as a result of today’s action.”