Biden’s Climate Commitment Falls Far Short of U.S. “Fair Share”

WASHINGTON- Today, President Biden unveiled a revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), committing the United States to a 50-52% reduction below 2005 levels by 2030. Earlier this month, environmental, environmental justice, and international development groups released the “Fair Shares Nationally Determined Contribution” (“Fair Shares NDC”) for the U.S., laying out the measures the United States should commit to carrying out to do its “fair share” of the global effort to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, based on its status as the world’s wealthiest country and largest historical carbon polluter. 

A “fair share” of the global effort would require the U.S. to:

  • reduce emissions by the equivalent of 195% from 2005 levels by 2030, achieved through cutting domestic emissions by 70% and providing international finance to enable the equivalent of an additional 125% reduction in developing countries.
  • contribute at least $800 billion in international climate finance between 2021-2030, equally split among finance for mitigation, adaptation, and the loss and damage caused by irreversible climate change ($267 billion each) as a good faith down payment toward the U.S. fair share of international climate finance.

 

Representatives Adriano Espaillat, Jamaal Bowman, and 25 other Members of Congress also wrote to President Biden this week calling for a Fair Shares NDC.

Dipti Bhatnagar, International Program Coordinator for Climate Justice and Energy with Friends of the Earth International, from Mozambique, said:

The U.S. climate target unveiled today is magnitudes below the United States’ fair share of climate action, both in terms of actual greenhouse gas reductions and providing finance and other assistance for communities in the Global South as they reel from a climate crisis they did not create. Droughts are destroying crops, cyclones are leveling homes, and whole nations are literally disappearing. This climate goal is neither driven by justice and equity nor by science, and that is not acceptable. The United States must accept and address its high level of responsibility for the climate crisis and encouragement of high-carbon lifestyles the world over, for which planet and peoples are severely paying the price.

Niranjali Amerasinghe, Executive Director of ActionAid USA, said:

There is much ado about President Biden’s target of 50-52% emissions reductions by 2030. But we know this is not enough, and meanwhile we are still waiting for a long-term commitment on the equally important issue of international climate finance. The United States has an obligation to provide finance and other forms of support to enable emissions cuts in poorer countries, and to ensure that frontline communities in those countries can survive the climate impacts that are already happening. No U.S. climate policy is complete without a strong climate finance commitment, and leaving it out means leaving behind hundreds of millions of people around the world who had little or no role in causing the climate crisis.

Bridget Burns, Director of the Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO), said:

For many years, the U.S. has failed to prioritize the needs of frontline communities impacted by climate change and recognize the global imperative to limit warming to 1.5 °C. Today’s NDC takes a small step forward in raising ambition in recognition of this critical moment, but does not put us on a trajectory aligned with 1.5 °C. The climate action we need to preserve the possibility for a just and healthy planet must advance this ambition with greater domestic emissions reductions; center human rights, environmental justice, and gender equality; and provide substantial funding to developing countries as is our responsibility as the world’s largest contributor to the climate crisis. We hope the Biden administration will build from today’s announcement to create more space to listen to the voices and solutions of those at the frontlines of the climate crisis, advance climate-compatible policies to unlock real funding for climate finance, and craft a more transformative vision for change.

Karen Orenstein, Climate and Energy Program Director at Friends of the Earth U.S., said:

President Biden’s commitment may seem ambitious for Washington, but it is sharply inadequate and deeply unjust for the billions living in the Global South. It stands in stark contrast to his expressed commitment to center environmental justice in his approach to government. Biden must go back to the drawing board and present a Nationally Determined Contribution in which the U.S. does its fair share to keep the world on a path to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Communications contact: Aisha Dukule, [email protected], +1 202 893-3502

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