Full Title: Achieving the U.S. 2025 Emissions Mitigation Target
Author(s): Maria Belenky
Publisher(s): Climate Advisers
Publication Date: 05/2015
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In November 2014, the United States pledged to lower its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. In the months since the release of the target, the question most frequently asked by many following the global climate debate has been: are these reductions achievable? More importantly, can they be attained without new legislative authority—that is, without requiring a divided U.S. Congress to pass new legislation? In this document, we analyze the suite of existing, proposed and planned policies and examine how close they bring the U.S. to achieving the target range of emissions reductions by 2025. Although the United States has not set a post-2025 target, this analysis is extended through 2030 for consistency with other country pledges.
Our main findings include:
- The suite of recent, proposed and planned regulations pushed forward by the Obama administration could lead to significant reductions in U.S. GHG emissions by 2025—up to 22% below 2005 levels, equivalent to approximately 80% of the needed action. This is within striking distance of achieving the U.S. target with enhanced political will for climate action.
- To achieve the U.S. pledge of reducing emissions 26-28% by 2025, however, the next U.S. President would need to vigorously implement these Obama administration policies as well as propose new emission reduction measures—something that is far from assured given political differences on climate change in the United States currently.
- Weak policy implementation combined with lower-than-expected natural carbon sequestration from U.S. lands, could yield emission reductions in the range of only 11% below 2005 levels by 2025 – far below the U.S. 2025 pledge.
- Other factors are likely to influence the chances of the United States meeting its 2025 emissions reduction goal, including economic growth rates as well as energy prices and demand.