WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden opened a global Earth Day summit with an ambitious pledge to cut at least in half the climate-wrecking coal and petroleum fumes that the U.S. pumps out.
Biden hopes the commitment by the United States, along with similar ones from its allies, will spur China and other big polluters to move faster on cutting their own emissions.
Biden told dozens of world leaders in remarks prior to a virtual White House summit Thursday that the U.S. will cut fossil fuel emissions by between 50% and 52% by 2030.
Calling the 2020s a "decisive decade" in the fight against climate change, Biden committed to finding innovative solutions to reduce emissions while creating more green jobs. He also said the U.S.'s new goal would put the country "on path for net-zero emissions" by 2050.
Biden's administration has offered few details of how it intends to do that, though CNN reports that by setting a lofty goal in cutting emissions, it would create "significant leverage" in convincing other countries to make similar cuts.
Also on Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga committed to cutting his country's emissions up to 46% by 2030, increasing from a goal of 26% set in 2013. Japan also hopes to be carbon neutral by 2050.
The new U.S. goal is a substantial increase from the one set by then-President Barack Obama when he joined the Paris climate agreement in 2015. In that pledge, Obama promised that the U.S. would cut emissions from 26% to 28% by 2025.
President Donald Trump announced in 2017 that he planned to have the U.S. leave the Paris climate agreement, and the U.S. formally broke away from the deal in November 2020. Upon his inauguration in January, Biden immediately re-committed to the agreement.