Editor’s Note: Bill Richardson is the former governor of New Mexico, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, former U.S. energy secretary, and a current board member of the World Resources Institute, a global research organization on environmental issues. He serves on the boards or consults with companies in the energy field. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Bill Richardson: U.S announced plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025
He says China, India, major corporations, cities among those already setting goals for cutting emissions. U.S. must lead in this effort
In baseball, there’s a traditional comeback after a tough season: “Wait ‘til next year!” For climate change “next year” is now. This year is the time and the United Nations’ international climate negotiations in Paris in December are the place to secure strong global agreement to curb heat-trapping emissions. A successful climate pact will send a signal around the world that a shift to a low-carbon economy is underway.
The United States has made clear that it is ready to step up to the plate on climate change. The U.S. administration on Tuesday unveiled details about its proposal to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. This common-sense and achievable plan to decarbonize the U.S. economy will result in significant cost savings from cleaner technologies and create more American energy jobs to power our homes and businesses.
This is an area where the United States needs to lead, and doing so will create a better planet for our children and a more prosperous future for our country.
The United States isn’t alone in this global climate effort. In a landmark joint announcement with the United States in November, China unveiled its intent to peak its carbon emissions around 2030 and to double its share of zero-carbon energy to 20%. This shift will require substantial effort from China to retool its economy, increase investment in renewable energy and divest from coal. As the world’s No. 1 investor in renewable energy, China has already taken important steps forward.
At the same time, India has set the audacious goal of installing 100 gigawatts of solar power capacity by 2022, a 30-fold increase from current levels and eight times more solar capacity than the United States has today.