Cutting emissions 50% would put U.S. Paris target on par with EU -report

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WASHINGTON, April 14 (Reuters) - If the United States sets a target to slash its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, as it is under pressure to do, its goal would be among the most ambitious commitments under the Paris climate agreement - and comparable to the EU's, according to a new analysis.

The memo by the Rhodium Group, a research firm with several analysts who worked in the Obama Administration, comes before Washington is due to announce a new Paris Agreement pledge for 2030 known as a Nationally Determined Contribution, or NDC, ahead of an Earth Day summit it will host on April 22.

The United States, the world's second-biggest greenhouse gas emitter after China, is under pressure from environmentalists, some corporations and European officialsto announce a target of at least 50% below 2005 levels.

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"When all NDCs are assessed against a 2005 baseline, a 50% U.S. NDC would put the U.S. among the top four most ambitious 2030 commitments when it comes to economy-wide emission reductions below historical levels," said the memo by Kate Larsen, a director at Rhodium and former U.S. climate negotiator.

The Paris agreement gave countries the flexibility to set their targets against their own baseline years, making it more complicated to compare different countries' emissions reduction goals.

Rhodium converted other countries' targets to a 2005 baseline to compare them to a possible 50% cut by the United States.

While that target would put the United States behind the UK, whose target is equivalent to a 63% cut under 2005 levels, it would put it on par with the EU and Switzerland, whose respective targets of 55% and 50% below 1990 levels translate to around 51% below 2005 levels.

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Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Dan Grebler

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