Biden sets 50 percent carbon reduction target by 2050 for US

April 22, 2021 |

In Washington, US President Joe Biden announced a new target for the United States to achieve a 50-52 percent reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution in 2030 – building on progress to-date and by positioning American workers and industry to tackle the climate crisis.

To develop the goal, the Administration analyzed how every sector of the economy can spur innovation, unleash new opportunities, drive competitiveness, and cut pollution. The target builds on leadership from mayors, county executives, governors, tribal leaders, businesses, faith groups, cultural institutions, health care organizations, investors, and communities who have worked together tirelessly to ensure sustained progress in reducing pollution in the United States.

Building on and benefiting from that foundation, America’s 2030 target picks up the pace of emissions reductions in the United States, compared to historical levels, while supporting President Biden’s existing goals to create a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and net zero emissions economy by no later than 2050. There are multiple paths to reach these goals, and the U.S. federal, state, local, and tribal governments have many tools available to work with civil society and the private sector to mobilize investment to meet these goals while supporting a strong economy.

Reaction from the bioeconomy

Brooke Coleman, Executive Director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council (ABBC):

“The administration’s commitment reflects the ambition we need to restore U.S. leadership in the battle against climate change. Now, it’s up to the EPA and others to match that commitment with specific, concrete actions to fast-track our transition to a net-zero future. The data shows we can’t reach those goals without a major influx of renewable fuels, both in terms traditional low-carbon biofuels, as well as the cellulosic and advanced sources that have spent years waiting in line for approval at the EPA. Rural America is ready to get behind a 50-state strategy that can stand up to political pressure and create opportunities for a diverse array of green jobs. The White House has powerful and well-established tools under the Renewable Fuel Standard to jump-start that progress without any new action by Congress. The sooner we make it happen, the sooner America can lead on the world stage.”

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy

“Growth Energy applauds President Biden for setting an ambitious new decarbonization target for the United States as part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement. We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure low-carbon biofuels, like ethanol, are an integral part of efforts to address climate change, reduce transportation sector emissions, improve air quality, and create jobs in rural America. Plant-based biofuels, like ethanol, have long been a key part of the nation’s strategy to reduce carbon emissions. Since 2007, ethanol has been responsible for cumulative carbon dioxide savings of 600 million metric tons in the U.S., or the equivalent of removing 130 million cars from the road, roughly half of our nation’s fleet. In addition, the biofuels industry employs more than 360,000 hard-working Americans across the country and especially in rural America. As the U.S. takes steps to address the growing climate crisis, meet our international climate goals, improve public health outcomes, and grow the clean energy economy, biofuels are an essential part of the solution.”

Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association

“We are pleased to see the inclusion of renewable fuels in President Biden’s plan for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and we agree that efforts to deploy larger volumes of ‘very low carbon’ renewable fuels should be a key component of our nation’s commitment to reduce emissions from the transportation sector under the Paris Agreement. However, renewable fuels can do far more than decarbonize aviation and other off-road markets. Just since 2008, nearly 1 billion metric tons of GHG emissions have been prevented from entering the atmosphere due to the increased use of renewable fuels to meet Renewable Fuel Standard obligations. In addition, recent research by scientists affiliated with Harvard, Tufts, and MIT shows that today’s average corn ethanol is reducing GHG emissions by almost 50% compared to gasoline. And with the adoption of carbon capture and sequestration, carbon-efficient feedstock production practices, and other new technologies, corn ethanol can be a ‘net-zero,’ carbon-neutral fuel by the end of the decade. As recognized by President Biden, achieving a 50% GHG reduction economy-wide by 2030 will take a portfolio approach that capitalizes on a broad and diverse array of low-carbon technologies, and that should include ethanol and other biofuels. We look forward to receiving more details and information regarding the role renewable fuels are expected to play in the Biden administration’s nationally determined contribution that will be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.” 

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