The United States has set an ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50% by 2030. To reach this target, Abhyankar suggests that the US grid should run on approximately 80 percent carbon-free electricity (including hydroelectric and nuclear power) by that time, compared to 40 percent today. Fortunately, we are already heading in that direction. Agriculture, forestry and other land uses can provide large-scale emission reductions and also eliminate and store carbon dioxide at scale.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has a Working Group on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for measuring emissions and removals. However, it could be too late if irreversible tipping points had been triggered, Schneider explained, including the thawing of permafrost regions that are massive carbon sinks causing additional emissions that would greatly accelerate the climate crisis. The latest IPCC report aims to give governments the justification for setting the necessary emission reduction targets. It states that halving emissions in the next decade is possible if a small number of current technologies and behavioral trends are more intensified and adopted more widely.
This requires strong civil society movements to drive the change. Reducing emissions in industry will mean using materials more efficiently, reusing and recycling products, and minimizing waste. Reaching net zero requires all governments, first and foremost the largest issuers, to significantly strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and take bold and immediate steps to reduce emissions now. More than 70 countries, including those that pollute the most — China, the United States and the European Union — have set a net zero target, covering about 76% of global emissions.Achieving net zero will be a challenge and will require new production processes, electricity, hydrogen and, where necessary, capture and storage of low and zero emissions.
Reducing GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 would put the United States on the path of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to target scientists, to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis.