In a submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), President Obama has told the international community that the United States expects to cut greenhouse gases (GHG) 26%-to-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.
The submission, referred to as an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), is a formal statement of the U.S. target, announced in China last year.
In a news release on March 31, the Obama administration said this target builds on agreements that the U.S. has negotiated in the past year with both China and the European Union.
“Today’s action by the United States further demonstrates real momentum on the road to reaching a successful climate agreement this December in Paris and shows President Obama is committed to leading on the international stage,” according to the news release from the White House.
The U.S. target will roughly double the pace of carbon pollution reduction in the United States from 1.2 % per year on average during the 2005-2020 period to 2.3-2.8% per year on average between 2020 and 2025. This ambitious target is grounded in intensive analysis of cost-effective carbon pollution reductions achievable under existing law and will keep the United States on the pathway to achieve deep economy-wide reductions of 80% or more by 2050, according to the news release.
The news release touted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan to cut CO2 as well as federal standards for heavy-duty engines and vehicles and energy efficiency standards.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wasted no time in criticizing the White House target.
“Even if the job-killing and likely illegal Clean Power Plan were fully implemented, the United States could not meet the targets laid out in this proposed new plan,” McConnell said. “Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn’t even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal,” the GOP senator added.