What is the emission rate?
In 2021, the United States emitted 6.28 billion tons of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide equivalent), according to data from the Potsdam Institute, which specializes in research on the effects of climate change, through the tool "Climate Watch".
The United States is currently the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in absolute terms, after China.
But if historical emissions from 1850 are accounted for, the United States is the top emitter of greenhouse gases.
These emissions peaked in the United States in 2007 and have since declined.
What are the sources of emissions?
Transportation is the most economic sector with the highest greenhouse gas emissions (28 percent in 2021), according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Electricity production, which accounts for about a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, is second to industry (23 percent), commercial and residential (13 percent), and agriculture (10 percent).
In 2022, about 60 percent of U.S. electricity production came from gas-fired power plants (40 percent) or coal (20 percent), the two most greenhouse gas emitters, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. The remaining emissions came from renewable energy (21.5 percent) and nuclear energy (18 percent).
What are the details of the emission reduction targets?"
In 2021, President Joe Biden promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by 50 to 52 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 figures.
The target was adopted as part of the Paris climate agreement and is supposed to bring the world's largest economy to carbon neutrality by 2050.
In the energy sector in particular, Biden wants electricity production to reach carbon neutrality by 2035.
What to achieve?
In the last phase, the Democratic administration's administration passed several laws with important implications.
Initially, in November 2021, a major plan to modernize the infrastructure was approved, such as building a network of electric vehicle charging stations.
In the summer of 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was passed with $370 billion allocated to environmental matters. It is supposed to contribute to the launch of investment projects in clean energies.
The government has also moved from the regulatory side through the Environmental Protection Agency. For example, it announced a plan to reduce oil and gas methane emissions and force some power plants to capture the majority of their carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
But according to a recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme, under the current circumstances, the United States will not reach its emissions reduction targets by 2030.
A study by the Rhodium Group in March suggests that the Biden administration's two laws (on infrastructure and the Inflation Reduction Act) put the United States on a path of reducing emissions from 32 to 42 percent by 2030, a result that is still far from the 50 percent target.
This goal remains achievable, although difficult, if federal agencies and U.S. states take additional ambitious action.