Biden to commit to major emissions reductions in sweeping climate announcement

Student group applaud the U.S. pledge to slash global warming pollution by half by 2030

Press Release

-For Immediate Release-

Manny Rin, PIRG Campus Action Organizing Director, [email protected], 925-234-1457
Josh Chetwynd, Communications manager, [email protected], 303-573-5558

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the United States will reduce global warming emissions 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 as part of America’s commitments under the newly rejoined Paris climate accords. This nearly doubles the target agreed to in 2015 by the Obama administration. The reductions will hinge on an accelerated transition to carbon-free electricity and the phase out of gas-powered vehicles.

Through their national 100% Renewable Energy, Destination Zero Carbon, Transform Transportation and dozens of campus and local campaigns, the Student PIRGs, Environment America and U.S. PIRG have convinced dozens of states to increase the amount of power they get from solar and wind. They have helped convince five states to commit to 100 percent carbon free electricity, and have won pollution reduction programs to cut carbon emissions from power plants and cars in states across the country. 

At the campus level, local Student PIRG chapters organized their peers on more than 77 campuses in 12 states to get their campuses and local governments to commit to 100 percent renewable energy. More than 127,000 students took action by signing a petition, writing a letter or making a phone call in support of the campaign and student governments from more than 20 campuses have passed resolutions in support of 100 percent renewable energy campus commitments. This enthusiasm for a clean energy future was on full display during Youth Earth Week, the largest youth-led effort to protect the environment with more than 250 local virtual actions nationwide, from April 19-23.

This progress in the states has laid the groundwork for President Biden’s ability to make such a bold national commitment. 

Student PIRGs Board Member Prab Rai of UCLA issued the following statement:

“Students have been on the forefront of change to protect our environment. We all know that burning oil, gas and coal has polluted our air, water, and land for decades – and now it’s changing the climate even faster than scientists feared it would. We can have healthier communities right now and a livable future for ourselves and generations to come. The Biden administration’s commitment to cut global warming pollution in half by 2030 is the first step towards that future. Four years ago, we launched a campaign to commit campuses across the country to 100 percent renewable energy. Since then, dozens of college campuses have made the commitment, including the University of California system, and now campuses enrolling nearly 1 million students are on their way to be powered by clean energy.”

Environment America President Wendy Wendlandt issued the following statement:

“Global warming is the existential challenge of our times, but we have more solutions at our fingertips than ever before. Rejoining the Paris agreement was just step one. Now the Biden administration has taken another big step by committing to cut global warming pollution in half by 2030. That’s exactly the kind of bold leadership we need. But just as critical are the policies we implement to get there. We look forward to working with the administration and officials, businesses and other institutions across America to accelerate a rapid transition to renewable sources of energy and to facilitate faster and more widespread adoption of zero emissions electric vehicles.”

U.S. PIRG President Faye Park issued the following statement: 

“If we implement common sense climate solutions today, we can preserve a livable planet, clean air and clean water for generations to come. Reducing pollution from dirty energy sources and our transportation vehicles, like our cars, trucks and school buses, will not only lower climate emissions, but will also clear our air and promote healthier communities. With his proposal to halve emissions by 2030, President Biden is putting the health of Americans at the forefront. Under this plan, we will be well-positioned to take polluting cars off the road and get more people walking and biking. We must also replace dirty diesel school buses with all-electric ones to protect our kids’ lungs. And we need to prioritize energy efficiency and renewable energy sources that keep our air clean. The American people want a healthier future, and we’re glad to see President Biden take bold steps toward delivering one.”