While speaking at a two-day virtual climate summit, President Biden committed that his administration would work to cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030.
At the summit—which was attended by 40 other world leaders—Biden fleshed out his plan to create a greener economy, and pledged that slashing the country’s greenhouse gas emission output would be a top priority during his presidency.
The goal was announced as part of the U.S.’s recommitment to the Paris climate agreement, which Biden rejoined in February of this year. The initiative also comes after several environmental groups pressured the president to propose a particularly ambitious effort to tackle the growing problems surrounding climate change—especially after the U.S. left the Paris climate agreement last year during the Trump presidency.
“This is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” Biden said at the summit. “We can’t resign ourselves to that future. We have to take action on this, and this summit is our first step on the road we’ll travel together.”
According to NPR, the Paris Agreement is a global pact which seeks to prevent worst-case climate scenarios that could arise should the Earth warm “more than 2 degrees Celsius from the preindustrial era, with a goal of keeping the rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
Cutting emissions in half by 2030 is regarded as a necessity in order to meet the U.N.’s expansive sustainability goals.
When the U.S. first joined the Paris climate agreement in 2015 under then-President Barack Obama, the mission was to cut emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025. This new marker of 50% to 52% is an especially sharp jump.
While Biden has yet to establish a roadmap for how exactly these goals will be met, he did note that “these steps will set America’s economy to net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.”