OnPolitics: Biden's lofty Earth Day goal

Mabinty Quarshie, USA TODAY
·3 min read

Happy Earth Day, OnPolitics readers 🌍!

President Joe Biden pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas pollution in half by 2030 at a virtual climate summit Thursday. Plus, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg testified on Capitol Hill against tax breaks for the fossil industry.

In non-climate news, the Senate passed an anti-hate crime bill to address a drastic increase of violence and discrimination directed at Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's Mabinty, with your guide to the day's top political news.

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So about those greenhouse emissions

The White House's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52%, from a baseline of 2005 emissions, is nearly double the target set by Obama administration in 2015.

How will this happen? It's unclear. An anonymous administration official did not detail how the White House plans to achieve the reduction. Republicans have vowed to fight his proposals that shifts the U.S. energy sector away from coal and other fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy.

Thursday's virtual summit is aimed at renewing America's leadership on climate change – and rallying other world leaders to set their own aggressive targets – after four years in which the Trump administration worked to unravel U.S. environmental commitments.

In his opening remarks, Biden noted the U.S. represents less than 15% of the world's emissions. "No nation can solve this crisis on our own," he said. "All of us, and particularly those of us who represent the world's largest economies, we have to step up."

Real quick: Why Greta Thunberg doesn't like the fossil fuel industry

Thunberg told the House Oversight Committee in the hearing on "The Role of Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Preventing Action on the Climate Crisis" that history would hold them accountable if they fail to take action to end fossil fuel subsidies, a cause taken up by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

"How long do you honestly believe that people in power like you will get away with it? How long do you think you can continue to ignore the climate crisis, the global aspect of equity and historic emissions without being held accountable?" Thunberg, testifying remotely, asked lawmakers.

A bipartisan vote in Congress

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act cleared the Senate chamber in a 94-1 vote. It would expedite the Justice Department's review of hate crimes and would designate an official at DOJ to oversee the effort.

The legislation, which now heads to the House, is one of the few bills to pass this Senate with bipartisan support.

Speaking from the Senate floor, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said that by passing the bill, "We will send a powerful message of solidarity to the AAPI community that the Senate won't be a bystander as anti-Asian violence surges in our country."

More news happening in Washington:

Today's a good to plant a tree. — Mabinty

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Earth Day: President Biden sets ambitious greenhouse gas goal