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WASHINGTON — In a highly anticipated announcement, the United States will offer a roughly 28 percent emissions cut as its contribution to a major global climate treaty nearing the final stages of negotiation, according to people briefed on the White House's plans. The U.S. plans to announce its commitment Tuesday, the informal deadline for nations to submit their contributions to the United Nations.
Although the goal of 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025 isn't new — President Barack Obama first unveiled it last year during a trip to Beijing — the U.S. proposal has drawn intense interest from the vast majority of countries that have yet to announce how deeply they'll pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions as part of the treaty. Obama's pledge constitutes the opening offer by the U.S. as world leaders strive to reach a climate deal powerful and ambitious enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
In the works for years, the treaty is set to be finalized in Paris in December. If it's successful, it will mark the first time all nations — not just wealthier ones like the U.S. — will have agreed to do something about climate change. As part of its proposal, known to climate negotiators as an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, the U.S. will assert that its contribution is both ambitious and fair, individuals briefed on the U.S. proposal told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
What metrics the U.S. will use to back up that claim is not yet clear. The European Union, one of the first parties to submit its contribution, pointed to per capita reductions in emissions to show how it is cutting its carbon footprint. But emissions per capita are far higher in the U.S., making it an inconvenient measure for the U.S. to use to show progress. Instead, the U.S. is expected to focus on the fact that the Obama administration is ramping up the rate of emissions reductions. Early in his presidency, Obama committed to cut U.S. emissions 17 percent by 2020; his subsequent goal for 2025 pushes it to 28 percent.
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