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Breaking Down U.S. Commitments During COP28

The United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) concluded in Dubai today. COP28 brought together leaders from around the world to address how to globally combat climate change.  

To break down what it is, COP28 is an annual international gathering where world leaders, policymakers, scientists, corporates, NGOs, and activists come together to discuss and make decisions on how to combat climate change. It is a continuation of the annual conferences that began with the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. At COP28, over 200 countries send delegates to negotiate and implement measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the impacts of climate change, and work collectively to limit global warming.

This year, the negotiating countries reached a historic deal that included language to transition away from fossil fuels. However, like other agreements made at COPs in the past, the true test is how countries implement this language.

Since it’s easy to get lost in the many headlines coming out of COP28, here’s a list of some of the more significant commitments coming out of the Biden Administration over the last two weeks:

- A U.S. engagement strategy for nuclear fusion energy that will fall under five pillars: R&D, supply chains and marketplace, regulation, workforce, and education and engagement.

- The EPA finalized a rule to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by nearly 80%, resulting in significant health and economic benefits. Additionally, the White House has updated the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan, detailing over 100 actions by federal agencies to substantially reduce methane emissions across various sectors.

- The U.S., spearheaded through DOE and HUD, joined the UNEP Buildings Breakthrough Initiative, along with other nations, pledging support for the goal of achieving near-zero emission and resilient buildings as the standard by 2030.

- The U.S. joined the in the UN’s 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy Compact, which is a voluntary initiative involving over 140 entities. This commitment aims to ensure that every hour of electricity consumption worldwide is matched with carbon-free electricity production on all energy grids.

- The U.S. also hosted an event focused on achieving net-zero emissions from national government operations, emphasizing roadmaps tailored to each country's specific path.

With COP28 coming to a close this year, the test will be how countries implement their domestic climate policies and push their allies to do the same.


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