Renewing US Commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement 

The United States is the second largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, and the largest historical emitter. Our participation in the Paris Agreement demonstrated our intent to cooperate globally in reducing our emissions and helping other countries reduce theirs. President Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement through a process that was finalized November 4, 2020. President-elect Biden has indicated that he will seek to rejoin the US to the Paris Agreement as one of his first acts in office. It could take just 30 days to rejoin it, but a crucial part of doing so will be developing an updated national commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, known as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).  

The previous US NDC committed to reducing GHG emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Under the Agreement, all countries must strengthen their NDCs every five years. Countries are supposed to submit new targets for 2030 by the end of 2020. The Biden administration will likely work to submit an updated US NDC for 2030 by the end of 2021, in time for COP26, which was postponed from Nov. 2020 to Nov. 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The following policies can contribute to a new, updated NDC as the US seeks to rejoin the Paris Agreement. This is not an exhaustive list, and we’ll be updating it when appropriate. 

Department of Energy 

Environmental Protection Agency

Department of the Interior 

  • Methane Venting, Flaring, and Leaks in Offshore Oil & Gas Production 

Department of Agriculture 

  • Carbon Bank to Finance GHG Reduction & Carbon Sequestration  
  • Climate Smart Practices Through USDA Conservation Programs  
  • Reforestation Targets