Climate Action Tracker Briefing

Trump’s climate policies would see US climate action rating drop from “medium” to “inadequate”

Published: 31/03/2017

In this briefing, the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) has looked at US President Trump’s Executive Order on “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” as released in March 2017. According to the CAT, the order sets the US on a path to miss its Paris Agreement commitment for 2025 by a large margin. This would warrant moving the US from a “medium” to an “inadequate” CAT rating. 

If the Executive Order were carried out in full, US emissions in 2025 and 2030 are expected to be roughly similar to today, instead of the 13% decrease from 2014 levels needed to meet its target (Nationally Determined Contribution) submitted to the Paris Agreement. 

In 2016 the CAT rated the US’s NDC as “medium”—i.e. not yet consistent with limiting global warming to 2°C, let alone 1.5°C, unless other governments make much deeper reductions. President Trump’s Executive Order, if codified as an NDC under the Paris Agreement, would move the US down to a CAT rating of “inadequate”—a level of action that, if followed by all other countries, would put the world on a pathway consistent with a 4 degree C global average warming.

However, the Executive Order can slow - but not reverse - the trends that have driven down US emissions in recent years. Although it begins the process of “suspending, revising, and rescinding” currently implemented policies, these steps are likely to be followed by legal disputes over the coming years and therefore will have a delayed impact on US emissions.