The United States may achieve significant emission reductions by 2020, but a sluggish economy, rising budget deficits, and other factors press against strong US action at home or abroad. This paper seeks to make sense of these trends. It discusses the impact of the recent election and continuing barriers to US climate leadership. It analyzes the factors driving down US emissions and identifies policies that could reduce emissions further in the future. It concludes that, despite continued obstacles to US climate action, recent trends have created an environment of cautious optimism for accelerated climate action by an increasingly climate-friendly administration.
Paper produced within the framework of the IAI project Transworld.
1. US Political Context
1.1. Remaining Obstacles to Climate Action
2. Tracking Emissions Reductions: Trends and Policies
2.1 The 2020 Emissions Trajectory
2.2 The New Business-As-Usual
3. Accelerating Climate Action