WASHINGTON, DC – As a key Senate panel questions the feasibility of the U.S. pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 percent, a recent report shows existing policies combined with the Clean Power Plan are on pace to cut carbon pollution by 27 percent. That puts the nation’s March commitment on climate well within reach.
“The polluters and their allies in the Senate may not like it, but the U.S. is already leading on climate action,” said Anna Aurilio, director of Environment America’s Global Warming Solutions program. “That’s in large part thanks to the proposed Clean Power Plan and leadership from the states.”
Renewable energy standards, fuel efficiency standards, carbon caps and other measures already on the books – combined with soon-to-be-finalized carbon pollution limits on power plants – would cut overall global warming emissions by about 22 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
The Environment America Research & Policy Center analysis, Path to the Paris Climate Conference: American Progress in Cutting Carbon Pollution Could Pave the Way for Global Action, documents expected carbon pollution reductions from the Clean Power Plan and a range of policies already enacted by state and federal governments.
Estimated reductions in the report don’t include recent proposed actions to slash greenhouse gas pollution, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s move to limit hydrofluorocarbons or ratchet up the efficiency of heavy-duty vehicles. The U.S. will need these proposals and more like them to achieve the remaining 4 to 6 percent cut in climate pollution by 2025 it pledged to China.
The bulk of the reductions will come from the Clean Power Plan, which will cut carbon pollution by 542 million tons by limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and compelling states to accelerate the transition to clean energy sources such as wind and solar.
To avoid devastating impacts of climate change, scientists estimate that an 80 percent cut in global warming pollution will be necessary by mid-century. Climate hawks hope an international agreement in Paris will pave the way for such reductions.
“Our current policies and our commitments are necessary, but not sufficient, to solve the climate crisis,” said Aurilio. “The question senators should be asking is not, ‘can we meet this pledge?’ The question they should be asking is ‘how can we do more?’”