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News > U.S.

UN Says US Must Halve Emissions to Spur Global Climate Action

  • Scientists say that, in order to prevent cataclysmic climate impacts, global emissions must plummet this decade and reach net zero by 2050 in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

    Scientists say that, in order to prevent cataclysmic climate impacts, global emissions must plummet this decade and reach net zero by 2050 in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. | Photo: Twitter/@thejillbeat08

Published 19 April 2021
Opinion

The Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres urged the United States to commit this week to at least cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, which could unlock similar action from the world’s other significant emitters.

The United States—which is the planet's largest economy and second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases behind China—hosts a virtual climate change summit on April 22-23, as Washington has insisted world leaders use the platform as an opportunity to commit to more significant emissions cuts.

The UN Secretary-General reminded that the White House's own pledge would need to set the bar high if other countries are to follow suit.

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"My expectation is that the United States will be able to present a reduction of emissions for 2030, in relation to 2010 levels, above 50%," Guterres told Reuters in an interview.

“If it happens, I have no doubt that it will have very important consequences in relation to Japan, in relation to China, in relation to Russia -- in relation to other areas of the world that have not yet entirely defined these levels,” he continued.

According to research firm the Rhodium Group, climate analysts predict the White House will release a plan to slash emissions by at least 50% by 2030, from 2005 levels, which would be similar to a 47% reduction by 2030 compared with 2010 levels.

As climate change is already intensifying heatwaves, strengthening hurricanes, and making wildfires more widespread, Guterres referred to this week's global meeting as a "make it or break it" moment for bold climate leadership.

Scientists remind that global carbon emissions must plummet this decade and reach net zero by 2050 to limit global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels if the globe is to prevent disastrous climate impacts.

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