US to Pledge 28% Emission Cut in Treaty03/31 06:12
The United States will pledge Tuesday to cut its greenhouse gas emissions up
to 28 percent as part of a global treaty aimed at preventing the worst effects
of climate change, according to individuals briefed on the White House's plans.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States will pledge Tuesday to cut its
greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 percent as part of a global treaty aimed at
preventing the worst effects of climate change, according to individuals
briefed on the White House's plans.
The Obama administration's contribution to the treaty, which world leaders
expect to finalize in December, codifies a commitment President Barack Obama
first made late last year in Beijing, when he announced a joint U.S.-China
climate deal that raised global hopes that developed and developing nations can
come together to fight climate change.
The U.S. proposal has drawn intense interest around the world. Most nations
will miss Tuesday's informal deadline to convey their contributions to the U.N.
--- only the EU, Switzerland and Mexico unveiled their pledges before the U.S.
By announcing its commitment early, the U.S. hopes to dial up the political
pressure on other countries to take equally ambitious steps to cut emissions.
The White House declined to comment ahead of the official announcement.
In the works for years, the treaty is set to be finalized in Paris in
December. If it's successful, it will mark the first time all nations --- not
just wealthier ones like the U.S. --- will have agreed to do something about
As part of its proposal, known to climate negotiators as an Intended
Nationally Determined Contribution, the U.S. will also assert that its
contribution is both ambitious and fair, said the individuals briefed on the
U.S. proposal, who requested anonymity because the proposal hasn't been
It was unclear what metrics the U.S. would use to back up that claim. But
the American proposal is expected to emphasize that the Obama administration
has accelerated the rate of emissions reductions nearly twofold. Early in his
presidency, Obama committed to cut U.S. emissions 17 percent by 2020; his
subsequent goal for 2025 pushes it to between 26 percent and 28 percent.
How will the U.S. meet its goal? The Obama administration has avoided
putting hard numbers on the size of emissions reductions it expects from
specific steps its taking. In its submission, the EU listed specific economic
sectors --- such as transportation, energy and manufacturing --- where it
expects major reductions, and named the specific greenhouse gases it plans to
In contrast, the U.S. is expected to point broadly to the steps Obama is
taking through executive action, such as pollution limits on power plants,
stricter vehicle emissions limits, and initiatives targeting specific gases
like methane and hydrofluorocarbons.
Many of those steps face major legal challenges and intense political
opposition, raising the risk that they could be undermined or even discarded
once Obama leaves office in 2017.
"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," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,