Many speculate what would happen to the U. S.’s pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions after Donald J. Trump takes control of the White House. The U. S. promised not only to cut its own emissions through its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) but to help poor countries under the Paris Agreement. Unfortunately, the President-elect has openly vowed to leave this landmark deal, which intends to limit the global temerature increase to 2 degrees Celsius. So, what if the U. S. cannot meet, or even abandon, the INDC? Alternatively, if it somehow manages to deliver its promise, does it mean the worst-case climate scenario averted?
It is elementary: a large part of greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to power generation, especially to fossil fuel combustion. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), electricity production accounted for 30 percent of the U. S.’s total GHG emissions in 2014, marking the largest share . About two-thirds of the produced electricity comes from fossil fuel combustion, mostly coal and natural gas . It can be implied that employing less carbon-intensive technologies such as renewables and nuclear—although the latter can be politically charged—would lead to less GHG emissions.