USA

Critically Insufficient4°C+
World
NDCs with this rating fall well outside of a country’s “fair share” range and are not at all consistent with holding warming to below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government NDCs were in this range, warming would exceed 4°C. For sectors, the rating indicates that the target is consistent with warming of greater than 4°C if all other sectors were to follow the same approach.
Highly insufficient< 4°C
World
NDCs with this rating fall outside of a country’s “fair share” range and are not at all consistent with holding warming to below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government NDCs were in this range, warming would reach between 3°C and 4°C. For sectors, the rating indicates that the target is consistent with warming between 3°C and 4°C if all other sectors were to follow the same approach.
Insufficient< 3°C
World
NDCs with this rating are in the least stringent part of a country’s “fair share” range and not consistent with holding warming below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government NDCs were in this range, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C. For sectors, the rating indicates that the target is consistent with warming over 2°C and up to 3°C if all other sectors were to follow the same approach.
2°C Compatible< 2°C
World
NDCs with this rating are consistent with the 2009 Copenhagen 2°C goal and therefore fall within a country’s “fair share” range, but are not fully consistent with the Paris Agreement long term temperature goal. If all government NDCs were in this range, warming could be held below, but not well below, 2°C and still be too high to be consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C limit. For sectors, the rating indicates that the target is consistent with holding warming below, but not well below, 2°C if all other sectors were to follow the same approach.
1.5°C Paris Agreement Compatible< 1.5°C
World
This rating indicates that a government’s NDCs in the most stringent part of its “fair share” range: it is consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit. For sectors, the rating indicates that the target is consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.
Role model<< 1.5°C
World
This rating indicates that a government’s NDC is more ambitious than what is considered a “fair” contribution: it is more than consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit. No “role model” rating has been developed for the sectors.

Summary table

Paris Agreement targets

On 4 November 2019, the Trump Administration formally notified the United Nations that the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement (U.S. Department of State, 2019; United Nations, 2019). This was the first possible day that the US could issue such a notification under the Agreement’s rules, and was a move that set the world’s second-largest emitter at odds with the rest of the world. The US exit will take effect exactly one year later, on 4 November 2020, one day after the 2020 US Presidential Elections and would leave the US as one of a only a handful of countries outside the Paris Agreement.

The US NDC set a target of reducing its emissions by 26%–28% below 2005 levels by 2025, including land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF). The CAT estimates that the 26%–28% reduction target in emissions including LULUCF is likely to result in a range of 22%–29% reduction in GHG emissions below 2005 levels excluding LULUCF, depending on whether the sink from LULUCF is at the high or low end of the projections.

2020 pledge

The United States is not a Party to the Kyoto Protocol. While a target of a 7% reduction below 1990 levels from 2008–2012 was originally negotiated and agreed, the US never ratified the Protocol and therefore, the target never came into force.

Under the Copenhagen Accord, the US announced an emissions reduction target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 (U.S. Department of State, 2010), which would be around 14%–18% below 2005 levels (excl. LULUCF). The CAT estimates that total emission will decrease by 20%–21% in 2020 below 2005 (excl. LULUCF), as a result of the economic slowdown and other effects of the pandemic, and it will overachieve the 2020 target.

Long-term goal

As part of the Paris Agreement (Article 4), all parties should develop and communicate long-term low greenhouse gas development strategies. On 16 November 2016, the Obama Administration submitted such a strategy entitled “Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization” (The White House, 2016b). The strategy sets an emissions reduction target of 80% or more below 2005 levels in 2050, incl. LULUCF. This target is equivalent to 69%–77% below 2005 levels (64%–73% below 1990), excl. LULUCF; the range depending on the magnitude of the LULUCF sinks. The government has now removed the mid-century strategy from all its websites, therefore we do not consider it in our assessment. Once the US withdraws from the Paris Agreement, the Administration will no longer be required to formulate such a strategy.

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