President Joe Biden committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 after reversing Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, NBC News reports.
Biden made the commitment ahead of a two-day virtual summit with world leaders that kicks off on Thursday.
"These steps will set America on a path of net zero emissions economy by no later than 2050," Biden said. "But the truth is, America represents less than 50 percent of the world's emissions. No nation can solve this crisis on our own, as I know you all fully understand."
"This is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis," he added. "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."
Goal falls short of European pledges:
Biden’s announcement marks the country’s most ambitious effort to reduce emissions in history.
Though the pace of global warming has slowed, environmental activists have pushed countries to cut emissions in half globally to meet the UN goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
But Europe has pledges bigger cuts.
The European Union has vowed to cut emissions by 55% by 2030.
The United Kingdom has pledged to cut emissions by 68% by 2030 and 78% by 2035.
“We need to move more quickly to implement commitments for 2030," French President Emmanuel Macron said. "Basically, 2030 is the new 2050."
Pressure on China, Russia:
The US is also urging other big polluters to cut their emissions.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the summit that his country would be carbon neutral by 2060 and will "strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030."
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not made any solid commitments but said Wednesday that the country would aim to limit its emissions by 2050.
“The fate of our entire planet, the development prospects of each country, the well-being and quality of life of people largely depend on the success of these efforts,” he said.