Press releases

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

Published: 31/03/2017

US President Trump’s Executive Order on “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” sets the US on a path to miss its Paris Agreement commitment for 2025 by a large margin, the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) said today, adding that it 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.  See full briefing here.

“It is almost certain that as a consequence of President Trump’s Executive Order this week, the USA will miss its 2025 NDC target—not that it would fully reverse existing trends on renewables or efficient cars, but because it will prevent new policies in other areas planned by the Obama administration from being implemented,” said Prof. Niklas Höhne, of New Climate Institute.

“If all other countries were to follow the United States in lowering the level of ambition and rolling back action on climate change, the world would warm by around four degrees over this century, a warming rate and level not seen on the planet for 55 million years,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics.   

However, President Trump’s 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.

“Unstoppable market pressures like the low and declining cost of renewables and battery storage, and action at state and local levels—such as California’s determination to enact stronger vehicle fuel efficiency standards—will continue to drive the development that decreases greenhouse gas emissions,” said Yvonne Deng of Ecofys, a Navigant company.

Momentum on climate action continues at state and city level. Until mid-2013, a Federal climate policy was not expected in the US, and states and localities took the lead on implementing emission- reducing policies.

Niklas Hoehne, NewClimate Institute: +49 173 715 2278, 
Bill Hare, Climate Analytics:  +49-160-908-62463, 
Yvonne Deng, Ecofys:   + 44 7788 973 714, 
The Climate Action Tracker is an independent, science-based assessment that tracks government action on climate, meaasuring it against the globally-agreed warming limit of 2˚C.   It is a joint project of the following organisations:
Climate Analytics
Climate Analytics is a non-profit organisation based in Berlin, Germany, with offices in Lomé, Togo and New York, USA, that brings together inter-disciplinary expertise in the scientific and policy aspects of climate change. Its activities include: synthesising and advancing scientific knowledge in the area of climate change science, policy and impacts; providing science and policy support to the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in international climate negotiations, and the tracking and analysing the effectiveness of national climate policies globally.
Ecofys, a Navigant company, is a leading international energy and climate consultancy focused on sustainable energy for everyone. Founded in 1984, the company is a trusted advisor to governments, corporations, NGOs, and energy providers worldwide. The team delivers powerful results in the energy and climate transition sectors. Working across the entire energy value chain, Ecofys develops innovative solutions and strategies to support its clients in enabling the energy transition and working through the challenges of climate change. Additional information about Ecofys can be found at

NewClimate Institute
NewClimate Institute is a non-profit institute established in 2014. NewClimate Institute supports research and implementation of action against climate change around the globe, covering the topics international climate negotiations, tracking climate action, climate and development, climate finance and carbon market mechanisms. NewClimate Institute aims at connecting up-to-date research with the real world decision making processes. Contact: Dr. Niklas Höhne, +49 173 715 2279