Ranked 61st, the United States maintains its spot at the bottom of this year’s CCPI.
The United States’ performance on this year’s CCPI ranks very low, putting it in the lowest rank. This is driven by its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and lack of targets at the national level to either reduce national GHG emissions or increase renewable energy deployment.
Experts, however, note that in the absence of national leadership, a number of states and cities have taken climate action. This factor, combined with falling renewables costs and unfavourable economics of coal, has led to sustained declines in carbon emissions from the power sector and a growth in the share of electricity generated by renewables. Note that the country’s ranking in this year’s CCPI also does not take the recent election results into account.
Per-capita GHG emissions in the United States have continued to fall, but they remain very high. This leads to a rating of very low in the GHG Emissions category. The country’s high per capita energy use leads to an identical rating of very low in the Energy Use category. Experts note that while the national government subsidises clean energy technologies and biofuels, an overhaul of national policy towards fossil fuels will be needed to drive faster renewable energy deployment. As such, the country is rated low in the Renewable Energy category. Experts also observe that despite the Trump administration’s plan to halve the environmental impact of the agricultural sector by 2050 and plant billions of trees per year, the lack of an overarching climate policy at the national level is seriously concerning. Moreover, experts note the need for a complete reversal of the international climate policy stance the United States has adopted over the past 4 years.
Overall, the United States is rated very low in the Climate Policy category. It is important to note, however, that during the campaign, President- and Vice President-Elect Biden and Harris pledged emissions reduction targets and actions on climate change. These, if fulfilled, would lead the United States to almost certainly climb in next year’s ranking. They include net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 ‘at the latest,’ re-joining the international effort to fight climate change, and a phase-out of subsidies for fossil fuels.
The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: Christoph v. Friedeburg (CF Energy Research & Consulting UG), Basav Sen (Institute for Policy Studies).