U.S. President Joe Biden used last week’s Earth Day summit to reassert U.S. global climate leadership, pledging dramatic reductions in U.S. carbon emissions and encouraging ambitious commitments from other major emitters. After four wasted years under former President Donald Trump, U.S. climate policy is finally headed in the right direction. And not a moment too soon, given the accumulated stock of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere. With less than a decade left to avoid a planetary catastrophe, Biden has reenergized hopes that the world can still meet the daunting Paris Agreement target of holding the rise in average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The summit nonetheless leaves important, lingering questions, the most important of these being the feasibility and credibility of Biden’s plans. His topline commitment is to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent from their 2005…

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