We need not give up hope for U.S. climate action, because American grassroots groups, environmental organizations, municipalities, individual states and business leaders can carry the ball. With or without a treaty or federal mandate, they can get the U.S. to the Paris goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.
Halving emissions in less than a decade requires immediate, concerted action. But the Department of Sanitation — the city agency with the highest vehicle fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions — plans to buy 340 new refuse trucks this year, with at least 300 powered by diesel engines. That would lock in high diesel emissions for the seven-year service life of these trucks — and put the 2025 emissions goal out of reach.