Although the Obama administration recently announced it will officially sign the climate change agreement forged in Paris nearly a year ago, making good on the deal’s promise to stem greenhouse gases could be a stretch, a new study concludes.
Even if the United States implements all current and proposed policies, it would miss its 2025 target by as much as 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year—roughly 20% of the nation’s total emissions, according to the analysis published today in Nature Climate Change. The 2025 target is to cut greenhouse gases 26% to 28% below 2005 levels—down to between 4.5 billion and 5.5 billion metric tons.
One big challenge to U.S. efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions comes this week, as a federal circuit court hears arguments over a challenge to the White House’s major climate change initiative, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) regulations targeting emissions from power plants. Even if the so-called Clean Power Plan survives the legal gantlet, however, the United States will still fall short in meeting its pledged reductions for 2025 without significant additional efforts, according to researchers at the federal government’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California.