As world leaders gather in New York on Friday to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, some have expressed concern that as they implement their commitments, the U.S. Supreme Court has put on hold the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. Their concern is understandable, but it’s important to recognize: The federal government is not the primary force in the U.S. fight against climate change, and even if the court ultimately strikes down certain parts of the plan, the U.S. will meet and probably exceed its commitment to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025. Here’s why.
It was a modest goal. By 2015, the U.S. had already cut emissions by 11 percent compared with 2005 levels. So our starting line was nearly halfway to our goal. Given this progress, many of us believed that President Obama should have set a more ambitious target. Even now, with the Clean Power Plan on hold, a more ambitious goal is achievable.