WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden said at a major summit that we are in a “decisive decade” to tackle climate change, foreign media reported on Thursday.
The United States has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the year 2030. This new target, which was revealed at a virtual summit of 40 global leaders, basically duplicates its previous promise.
But the leaders of India and China, two of the world’s biggest emitters, have made no new commitments. “Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade – this is the decade in which we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” said President Biden in the summit’s opening speech.
“We must try to keep the Earth’s temperature at an increase of 1.5 ° C. The world beyond 1.5 degrees means more frequent and intense fires, floods, droughts, heat waves and hurricanes – destroying communities, destroying lives and means livelihood. “
He said there is a moral and economic imperative to take immediate action on climate change. Referring to America’s new carbon-cutting promise, President Biden added: “The signs are unmistakable, science is undeniable and the cost of inaction continues to rise.
“The United States is not waiting, we are resolving to take action.” Climate activist Greta Thunberg, who testified before Congress on Thursday, challenged world leaders to do more about the climate crisis.
“Unlike you, my generation will not give up without a fight,” she said. “How long do you honestly believe that people in power are going to get away with it?” The UK is playing a critical role this year as president of the crucial COP26 later this year. The government is tasked with reaching an agreement in Glasgow when world leaders meet in November.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was enthusiastic in his speech at the virtual conference. He assured global leaders that tackling climate change “does not involve rabbit hugs”. At the summit, Johnson called President Biden’s announcement about cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions “a game changer.”
“We can do this together across the world. This means that the wealthiest nations will come together and exceed the $ 100 billion pledge they had already made in 2009,” he said. Climate has been the central focus of the first months of the Biden government in office.
Others who have made new promises include Canada, Japan and South Korea. But Canada’s promise to limit carbon emissions by 40-45% by 2030 received immediate criticism from activists.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshide Suga said the country is “ready to demonstrate its leadership” in the climate. Mr. Suga said that Japan would reduce emissions by 46% in 2030 compared to 2013 levels. Previously, the country had promised only a 26% cut in emissions.
South Korea also promised a new target and said it would stop funding the construction of coal-fired power plants abroad. But China has hinted that coal, which is expected to grow again as the economy recovers from Covid, will be faced in the coming years.
“We will strictly control coal-fired power generation projects,” said the country’s president, Xi Jinping, at the meeting. “We will strictly limit the increase in coal consumption during the 14th period of the five-year plan and gradually reduce it in the 15th period of the five-year plan.”
However, it is likely to be after 2026. India’s Prime Minister Modi emphasized that his country’s per capita emissions were 60% lower than the global average.
He said that changes in lifestyle should play a bigger role in limiting climate change. However, he made no new promises about reducing emissions. President Biden’s team is also urging countries that have been slow to take action against climate change – such as Australia and Brazil – to raise their ambitions.