The US will cut its carbon emissions by 28 per cent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels, the Obama administration said on Tuesday, outlining the country’s positions ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November this year.
Following the EU, Mexico and Switzerland, the US is one of only a few countries that have submitted their plans ahead of an informal UN deadline on Tuesday.
Unlike the EU’s proposal, Obama’s administration doesn’t describe detailed steps it plans to take in order to achieve the goal.
Among the measures the US expects to take are pollution limits on power plants, stricter transport emission limits, stricter requirements for energy efficiency of appliances and plans to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
It is believed Obama’s efforts may hit a wall in the Republican-dominated Congress and face a backlash from various industry groups.
Since taking up the duty in January 2009, Obama’s administration has twice accelerated the US emission reduction rate. Early in his presidency, Obama committed to cut US emissions 17 per cent by 2020; his subsequent goal for 2025 pushes it to between 26 per cent and 28 per cent
However, there are concerns that the efforts will be abandoned once Obama’s period of office ends in 2017.
Seeking to take a leadership role ahead of the UN talks in December this year, US officials highlighted that countries producing 60 per cent of global greenhouse gases have now pledged to cut or slow the pace of those emissions.
"What is significant about where we are today is ... that the countries that have made commitments span the spectrum of countries, including emerging economies," said Brian Deese, the senior environmental advisor to Obama, a Democrat.
China announced its plan to cap its emissions around 2030 in a joint announcement with the US last November. Mexico on Friday announced a goal to cap its emissions in 2026.
However, major carbon polluters including India, Brazil, Canada and Japan have yet to produce their plans, which may hinder the process of reaching agreement before the Paris talks, according to some environment policy observers.