Biden's net zero pledge could bring Paris climate goals 'within striking distance'

(KEYSTONE/AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The election of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States could help shave 0.1˚C off global warming by 2100 and put the goals set by the Paris agreement closer in reach, according to estimates by climate experts.

Biden’s pledge to reach net zero emissions no later than 2050 and his $2 trillion plan to boost American investment in clean energy and infrastructure would reduce emissions by around 75 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) over the next 30 years.

According to estimates by Climate Action Tracker, this would reduce global warming by around 0.1°C before the end of the century.

When combined with China’s recent pledge to bring emissions to net-zero before 2060, and the EU, Japan and South Korea’s commitments to reach net-zero by 2050 this would bring the world close to “a tipping point” on climate, the organisation said.

“Taken together, the US and China going to net zero emissions would reduce our estimate of end-of-century warming to 2.3-2.4°C, taking the world 25-40 per cent of the way towards limiting warming to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit,” said Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute, a Climate Action Tracker partner organisation.

Across the globe, a number of countries have made commitments to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century . Adding the USA to the 126 countries that have made similar announcements on net zero emissions, would cover 63 per cent of global emissions.

As well as re-joining the Paris climate agreement, Biden has pledged to spend trillions of dollars in speeding up the transition from fossil fuels and tackling climate changed. However his policies are likely to face Republican resistance in the Senate.

Bill Hare of Climate Analytics, the other CAT partner organisation, said: “President-elect Joe Biden has a lot of catching up to do: first to reverse the Trump Administration’s anti-climate moves, then begin to move the country in the right direction, but he will be surfing a new wave of global ambition.”