John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate, said Thursday he expects the United States will surpass President Biden’s newly announced goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% below 2005 levels by 2030.
“It’s not easy. Is it doable? Yes. Will we probably exceed it? I suspect yes,” Mr. Kerry told reporters at the White House. “I think a lot of us will wind up exceeding the predictions we’re making [because] we’re measuring predictions by the economies we have today and by the technologies we have today.”
Mr. Kerry said the direction of the market is moving so strongly in one direction that a would-be new president in 2025 would be essentially powerless to reverse or unwind the targets.
“The marketplace is doing this — you can’t build a coal-fired power plant in the United States with a bank funding it,” he said. “And no individual is going to throw the money down there.”
Mr. Kerry spoke after appearing at Mr. Biden’s virtual climate summit where the president laid out the new emissions target.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr. Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, which includes billions of dollars for climate-related initiatives, is also part of the puzzle.
“The market’s part of it and the private sector is part of it, and I think that’s an important component of the very good question of how will we ensure that these changes are ingrained in the future,” Ms. Psaki said. “But there is absolutely a role for government to play — some through executive action, some through legislation.”
She said the president wants to sign the infrastructure package into law over the summer.
Critics on the left say the 50%-52% reduction isn’t ambitious enough, while critics on the right say trying to get there would devastate the U.S. economy while doing little to hold other major polluters like China and India accountable for hitting their own targets.