Meanwhile, the newly constituted European Commission says it will increase the EU’s emissions reduction target to “at least” 50% by 2030 (up from 40%) by next summer. In a recent report, an independent campaign group calling itself the Green New Deal for Europe notes that President Roosevelt’s New Deal initiative was able to revert the “dust bowl” conditions of the US’s Southern Plains region back in the 1930s by planting 3bn trees and developing 800 natural parks, among other measures. A key determinant of success for the EU will be the appetite of its member states to reach into their pockets. Just achieving existing 2030 climate targets will require an additional €260bn per year, the EU’s own report states.

More hope in Madrid came from the US delegation. Not the official one, naturally (President Trump continued to express his contempt for the climate agenda, this time using Twitter to call on Greta Thunberg to “work on her anger management problem”). Instead, bringing a voice of can-do optimism to the COP25 was a coalition of US state governors, city mayors and business leaders. This unofficial yet powerful delegation claims that their own pursuit of “aggressive best-practice climate policies” could reduce US emissions by 37% (on 2005 levels) by 2030. (Current levels put them on a 25% trajectory).

Notably, this is without government support. Should the federal government reverse its anti-Paris Agreement stance and “re-engage” with global climate policy, the figure could jump by 12 percentage points to 49%. According to a 100-page report published by the America’s Pledge coalition, the alliance’s members represent around two-thirds of both the US economy (68% of GDP) and the population (65%). As importantly, 51% of all US emissions fall within their remit.

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