US President Joe Biden pledged to cut US greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 as he convened 40 world leaders in a virtual summit intended to demonstrate renewed American resolve to fight climate change and pressure wary nations to raise their own ambitions.
Biden announced in opening remarks for the two-day summit that the US will reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions 50%-52% from 2005 levels by the end of the decade, reports Bloomberg.
"No nation can solve this crisis on our own," Biden said Thursday from the White House.
"All of us, and particularly those of us who represent the world's largest economies, we have to step up."
The new US pledge is aimed at encouraging industrializing countries including China, India and Brazil that account for much of the world's carbon output to set their own aggressive emissions-reductions targets. But Biden is likely to face a cool reception from leaders worried about committing to emissions cuts that could slow economic growth.
Watch the "Leaders Summit on Climate" live here:
April, 23 2021 - 01:31 AM
Kerry closes day 1 of Climate Summit
John Kerry, the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate closed the Summit for the first day. Finance and nature were the discussion key points for today.
He mentioned that tomorrow President Biden will address the Summit again.
Tomorrow, the discussions will be held on innovation and economic opportunities related to climate.
Bill Gates will talk about innovations in the sector.
Kerry said there are "great possibilities” in terms of innovation. He mentions hydrogen and battery storage.
John Kerry said the 20 most developed countries equal to 81 per cent of all emissions, the US being number two on that list.
The diplomat said, "This is the greatest economic opportunity the world has known since the industrial revolution.. 4.5-5 billion users of energy today, rising to 9 billion in the next 30 years, 860 million of whom don't have electricity today- that is a problem but also an opportunity. We will seize the opportunity to go clean."
Kerry ended his statement with hopes for a better future.
April, 22 2021 - 11:54 PM
Indigenous leader says nature is "way of life"
Tribal and indigenous leaders from around the world emphasise the protection of the environment. They explain how nature has been a part of their lives for generations.
The women gathered today are a "testament to how women around the world are raising the mantle of climate leadership, developing sustainable solutions", said Michael Regan, the mediator of the all-women panel.
While introducing Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim of the Indigenous Women and Peoples Association of Chad, Regan mentioned that the world's Indigenous people make up only about 5% of the global population but effectively protect about 80% of global biodiversity.
"How we can lead in harmony with nature?" Ibrahim says. "Without Indigenous peoples, there is no way."
She says developed countries must now follow the leadership of Indigenous communities in taking climate action.
For us, she says, "protection of nature is not a policy, it is our way of life".
April, 22 2021 - 11:06 PM
'This gift that we have received, we must care for into the future': Pope Francis
This gift that we have received, we must care for into the future, Pope Francis said in his address to the climate summit.
"This is increasingly difficulty because the challenge we face in the post pandemic era. We need to keep moving forward," he added.
"We must ensure that the environment is cleaner, more pure. It needs to be preserved. We must care for mother nature," he said.
April, 22 2021 - 09:58 PM
'We need a sprinting start now if we wish to achieve our goal of net-zero emissions by mid-century': Yellen
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen built off President Biden’s remarks on finance as key to combating climate change as she addressed world leaders.
“We need a sprinting start now if we wish to achieve our goal of net-zero emissions by mid-century. President Biden has recommitted the United States in its part to tackle this crisis and marshal the full capacity of the US government. As Treasury Secretary, I understand that finance – public and private – is crucial to enable countries to accelerate their progress,” she said.
Yellen cited “two questions that keep me up at night,” including how nations can reduce emissions by supporting economic development and responding to other challenges like Covid-19.
The second question, she said, is how should governments target public sector climate finance to mobilize private sector investments, noting that “past efforts to support private investment have not achieved anywhere near the scale needed to green the global economy."
She vowed that her department “will focus the full range of our tools and expertise to work with you in producing concrete and innovative answers to these questions.”
She outlined key items in the President’s discretionary funding request to address this, including $1.2 billion request for the green climate fund, $485 million in funding to support multilateral climate initiatives, and increased support for multilateral development banks.
April, 22 2021 - 09:36 PM
IMF chief urges G20 to adopt carbon price floor to reach climate goals
The head of the International Monetary Fund urged the Group of 20 major economies to adopt an international carbon price floor to help reach agreement on carbon pricing, which she said was essential to combating climate change.
Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told a virtual two-day summit that climate change posed huge risks to economic development, but also offered "incredible opportunities for transformative investments and green jobs."
A robust price on carbon was needed to ensure that global carbon emissions were reduced in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord, she said, noting that over 60 pricing schemes had already been implemented.
April, 22 2021 - 09:32 PM
'Governments alone cannot possibly find all the necessary investment' for net-zero economy: Kerry
Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said the creation of a net-zero economy will require a strong public-private partnership, noting that “governments alone cannot possibly find all the necessary investment” to meet the task of a net-zero carbon future.
“Creating a net-zero economy and doing it as rapidly as possible is an enormous challenge,” Kerry said in remarks at the opening of the second session of the Leaders’ Climate Summit hosted by the White House.
“It will require mobilizing finance at an absolutely unprecedented level, and it will require governments to help facilitate the net-zero transition around the world, and to help … the vulnerable countries, the people who just don't have the finance or the technology or the ability to do this,” he said.
April, 22 2021 - 09:27 PM
Ardern: 'It is time to stop imagining'
"Both our financial systems and financial flows to assist developing countries is at the heart of that transition," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
She urged other nations to do what New Zealand has done and price carbon, end fossil fuel subsidies, and finance adaptation.
April, 22 2021 - 08:55 PM
Teen activist demands action
Teenage activist Xiye Bastida followed the world leaders as one of the summit's first invited speakers.
"I am one of the many young people impacted by climate change," she told the summit, after an introduction from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Her hometown in Mexico was hit by flooding in 2015 which led her family to move to New York.
"We can no longer keep having summits and conversations," she said to the summit.
She urges action and shares a list of demanded.
"We demand comprehensive non-Eurocentric climate education," she said.
"We demand to get to net zero emissions by 2030, not 2050."
April, 22 2021 - 08:44 PM
Chile urges protection of oceans
President Sebastián Piñera of Chile encourages leaders to consider the role oceans play in the climate. He asks for help in protecting them.
He inviteed other countries to join Chile in establishing a marine protection area around Antarctica to protect wildlife and ecosystems.
April, 22 2021 - 08:29 PM
Mexico urges Biden to consider immigration with climate
The Mexican president opned by boasting about his nation's reforestation efforts.
"We have planted 700 million plants," said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He includes that over 450,000 agricultural workers in Mexico are already receiving compensation in order to plant fruit trees on their lands.
He encouraged the US government to help continue this programme in countries across Latin America.
He also proposed a climate related visa for migrants wanting to enter the US.
"Migrants are exceptional people. We have to organise them in a very humane way and a practical manner with a love of nature," he said.
The US is currently experiencing higher than normal levels of migrants at the southern US border and Biden has been under scrutiny for his handling of the situation.
April, 22 2021 - 08:23 PM
Jair Bolsonaro boasts that 'Brazil is at the forefront'
Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, said his country is "at the forefront" of the fight and contributes to less than 3% of global climate emissions annually despite having a large population.
He talks up "a green revolution" in the Brazilian countryside, built on sustainable agricultural practices, saying: "We produce more using less resources, which makes Brazilian agriculture one of the most sustainable practices on the planet."
Bolsonaro has drawn lots of heat as president for his environmental policies, particularly in the Amazon rainforest, and for his pushback on the country's climate targets.
But the Brazilian leader insists environmental bodies have been strengthened and defends "the right to development" in Brazil and other countries.
April, 22 2021 - 08:21 PM
Climate action needs to account for the difference in development needs among countries: King Salman
Saudi King Salman said that "the Saudi vision for 2030" incorporates efforts to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and other green initiatives implemented by his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
King Salman said climate action needs to account for the difference in development needs among countries.
April, 22 2021 - 08:17 PM
'Vulnerable countries suffer when largest economies don't lead the fight': Marshall Islands
President David Kabua of the Republic of the Marshall Islands told summit attendees that curbing climate change is crucial to "the safety and security" of his low-lying atoll nation.
The largest economies must signal their "unequivocal" commitments now in the climate fight, he said.
"Too often vulnerable countries hear the excuse that steep emissions cut are too costly," said Kabua.
"Leading from the frontlines, we were the first to strengthen our NDC (national climate plan) in 2018."
Kabua called for "50% of climate financing to go toward adaptation" measures.
April, 22 2021 - 08:15 PM
'We remain highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change': Bhutan
Bhutan is not only carbon-neutral, it is carbon-negative, said Prime Minister Lotay Tshering of his small kingdom nation.
This is because of its significant hydropower operations, according to the leader.
"We remain highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change," he noted.
Suggesting constitutional requirements for ecological protection, Tshering adds: "I cannot understand this irony of contributing a lot to environment preservation yet having to suffer so much.
April, 22 2021 - 07:52 PM
Argentina: We are walking 'suicidal path'
"We have to be aware of the suicidal path we are walking," President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina said.
He shared Argentina's plans to combat climate change.
"We have to work together, we have to have social justice, financial justice, and environmental justice."
April, 22 2021 - 07:51 PM
'This will be the make or break decade': Ursula von der Leyen
"This will be the make or break decade," President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission said.
"The Paris Agreement is humanity's life insurance. We are getting dangerously close to 1.5 degrees of global warming."
April, 22 2021 - 07:40 PM
Pandemic recovery is opportunity to build back smarter: Italy
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi opened by thanking Biden.
"Now we are confident that together we will win this challenge," he said.
"As we fight the pandemic, we cannot lose sight of the other crisis," Draghi urged.
He encourages incorporating green policies into financial plans as countries build back from the pandemic.
April, 22 2021 - 07:38 PM
'Take advantage of opportunities in biofuels and electric vehicles': Indonesian Presdient
President Joko Widodo of Indonesia said his country is on the right track in the climate fight.
He said the country has now reached its lowest level of deforestation.
He also said it is "rehabilitating 620,000 hectares of mangroves" as a carbon sink.
Widodo added that "opportunities in biofuels, lithium ion batteries and electric vehicles" should be capitalised on.
April, 22 2021 - 07:25 PM
Emmanuel Macron: 'Move quickly to innovate and disrupt'
French President Emmanuel Macron begun his speech from the start again and it looks like we finally have a translator.
"Let's move more quickly on innovation and disruptive technologies," said Macron, who has positioned himself as a key player in the global climate fight.
The French leader also called for greater cooperation with the financial sector.
He called on allies to push forward with a mandate for social justice in work done to curb climate change.
It is up to the world's largest countries to develop the framework for carbon neutrality, he noted.
April, 22 2021 - 07:22 PM
Korea to end public financing of coal plants
President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea begun by thanking President Biden for re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement.
He then announced two pledges made by the Republic of Korea today.
The first is to "raise our reduction target" in greenhouse gas emissions and continue to work to have net-zero emissions by 2050.
"Second, Korea will end all public financing at home or overseas of coal fired power plants."
April, 22 2021 - 07:15 PM
Putin: 'It's not enough to tackle new emissions'
"It is no secret that the conditions that facilitated global warming go way back. But what kind of comprehensive solutions can we see today?" Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his remarks.
"It's not enough to tackle the issue of new emissions, it is also important to take up the task of absorbing the CO2 that is already in the atmosphere," he said
Russia is already doing this work by maintaining strong ecosystems, Putin added.
April, 22 2021 - 07:10 PM
Angela Merkel: 'We've doubled our financing of the climate fight
Chancellor Angela Merkel called the climate fight "a Herculean task".
She said both Germany and the European Union are on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
She called carbon pricing, already implemented in Germany, "the right way forward" and says the country is both investing in renewable energy and phasing out coal.
Germany has doubled its financing of the global climate fight, Merkel added, and will continue to provide support wherever possible.
April, 22 2021 - 07:02 PM
Bangladesh is among the climate-vulnerable countries, says PM Hasina
Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina thanked the US for rejoining the Paris climate accords and re-engaging with the world in the climate fight.
Bangladesh is "a climate-vulnerable country" and therefore represents the interests of other small developing nations with similar vulnerability, Hasina said.
She pointed out they spend millions on climate-resilience and mitigation measures, and calls on the developed world to help lead that fight.
April, 22 2021 - 06:58 PM
Trudeau urges countries to follow Canada's lead
"You can no longer pollute in Canada for free," said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
He encouraged other countries to follow Canada's lead as well as pledging to cut Canada's emissions even further.
"Today, Canada is in a position to raise our climate ambition once again. Our new climate target for 2030 is to reduce our 2005 emission levels by 40-45%."
April, 22 2021 - 06:53 PM
Japan pledges a major cut in its carbon emissions
Japanese PM Suga was the first world leader to meet President Biden face-to-face, at the White House earlier this week. Like the other leaders, he began by commending Biden for calling today's summit.
"Japan is ready to demonstrate its leadership" on this issue, Suga said, and "will reach its decarbonisation targets."
Suga pledged that Japan will aim to reduce emissions by 46% in 2030 compared to 2013 levels. Previously the country had pledged only a 26% cut in emissions.
Making Japan a greener society has been a top priority for Suga and he added it will continue to push an ambitious top-level target for cutting carbon emissions.
April, 22 2021 - 06:45 PM
Boris Johnson calls Biden promise 'game-changing'
UK PM Boris Johnson thanked President Biden for returning the United States to the front of the fight for climate change and calls his announcement about cutting US greenhouse gas emissions "game-changing".
The UK is doing the same, he said.
"We can do this together across the world. It's going to mean the richest nations coming together and exceeding the $100b commitment they already made in 2009."
Johnson ended his speech by saying "we can build back better, by building back greener", referring to the job creation that can come with combatting climate change.
April, 22 2021 - 06:40 PM
Narendra Modi: 'A lived reality for millions'
"Humanity is battling a global pandemic right now and this event is a timely reminder that the grave threat of climate change has not disappeared," Indian PM Modi said.
Climate change is "a lived reality" for millions and requires "concrete action", he said.
The Indian leader says the country has taken "bold action" with large-scale renewable energy development, afforestation and other moves.
He hails India as having a level of carbon emissions per capita to be 60% below the global average, and says it is because his countrymen's lifestyles are still "rooted in traditional practices".
"This shows the importance of lifestyle change" in the climate fight, Modi pointed out.
April, 22 2021 - 06:35 PM
Xi Jinping: 'Man and nature can live in harmony'
"We must be committed to harmony between man and nature," said Chinese President Xi Jinping.
He reiterated China's climate promises, including moving to sustainable energy sources and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.
"China looks forward to working with the international community, including the United States," said President Xi.
April, 22 2021 - 06:30 PM
UN: 'We are at the verge of the abyss'
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres spoke on how to build a "net-zero climate coalition".
He lauded President Biden for his push to halve emissions by 2030, saying: "You have started the summit by talking the talk".
Guterres called for phasing out coal, better financing and support for developed countries, and an end to the "war on nature".
Urging decisive action, he tolf world leaders: "We are at the verge of the abyss, we must ensure that the next step is in the right direction."