Washington-President Joe Biden promises to cut US greenhouse gas pollution in half by 2030 at the Virtual Climate Summit on Thursday, requiring drastic changes to the US energy and transportation sector Outlined positive goals to do.
“These measures will put the United States on a zero-emission economy by 2050,” Biden said when the White House held a two-day summit and was attended by 40 leaders from around the world. Said.
“Scientists tell us that this is a decisive decade and a decade in which we must make decisions to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” Biden said.
The White House’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% from the 2005 emissions baseline is almost double the target set by the Obama administration in 2015. It’s not clear how the White House plans to achieve a 50% reduction in emissions.
“There are multiple paths to achieving this goal,” said officials, saying Biden, for example, promised to free the US electricity sector from 100% carbon pollution by 2035.
The Virtual Summit renews U.S. leadership on climate change four years after the Trump administration’s efforts to unravel U.S. environmental commitments and brings together other world leaders to set their own positive goals. It is intended to be set.
“We are all very pleased with the resurrection of the United States,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement at the summit. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Biden’s pledge a “game change” and offered a frank rebuttal to those who questioned the need to tackle climate change.
“This isn’t about bunny hugs,” Johnson said. “This is about work.”
Biden said in his opening remarks that the United States accounts for less than 50% of world emissions.
“No country can solve this crisis on its own,” he said. “All of us, especially those of us who represent the world’s largest economy, need to step up.”
Other world leaders have provided similarly disastrous assessments of the threat posed by climate change, but only a few have outlined aggressive new steps in addressing the crisis. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country will reduce carbon pollution by 40% to 45% by 2030. This is an increase from Canada’s previous 30% target. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has vowed to reduce emissions by 46% from 2013 levels.
However, two of the world’s largest emitters, China and India, did not outline the new goals. China’s Xi Jinping Jintao and Narendra Modi Prime Minister of India, stressed their existing commitments, said that in the face of major obstacles than the United States and other Western countries.
“China has promised to move from carbon peaks to carbon neutrals in a much shorter time than many developed countries need, which requires China’s very tough efforts,” Xi said. Stated. He reiterated China’s commitment last year to “peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2060.”
Is it too far or not enough?
Biden’s climate change agenda also faces obstacles at home. The Republican Party has vowed to fight his proposal to move the US energy sector from coal and other fossil fuels to renewable energies.
Senator John Barrasso, a Republican in Wyoming and a strong defender of the fossil fuel industry, has blamed Biden’s 50% emission reduction plan and said it puts the United States at a global competitive disadvantage.
“President Biden has unilaterally promised a dramatic and damaging emission promise to the United States,” Barasso said in a statement Thursday. “As the president sets penalties for the country, American enemies like China and Russia continue to increase emissions at will. The last thing the economy needs is higher energy prices and It’s less work, but that’s exactly what we’re trying to get. “
Democrats have embraced Biden’s climate change agenda, despite pressured Biden to move further.
“The Biden administration has inherited four years of dust and denials about climate change, but that era is over,” said Senator Edward Marquee of D-Mass on Thursday. “With additional funding and political will, we can do much more to respond to this moment of existential crisis,” Marquee said.
The United States is the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2), producing approximately 5.41 billion metric tons in 2018. China emits almost twice that amount.
According to experts, the world’s major economies need to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and limit global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. The United States and other countries have already seen the effects of global warming on more extreme weather events, but scientists say that when planetary temperatures exceed the 1.5-degree threshold, the effects are devastating and irreversible. It is said to be the target.
Biden has promised to be the most active president of climate change and has set a goal of decarbonizing the U.S. electricity sector by 2035 and zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. .. Suspend oil drilling on public land and suspend construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
More:Biden prioritizes climate change as a national security concern and suspends oil drilling on public lands
“The Biden Harris administration will do more than anything else in history to deal with our climate crisis,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a speech previewing this week’s summit. “This is already a full-scale effort by our government and our country as a whole. Our future depends on the choices we make today.”
Blinken and other Biden advisers countered Republican criticism by pointing out economic opportunities in the transition to a clean energy economy.
Blinken:U.S. needs to catch up with China on renewable energy to create jobs
Blinken said in a speech Monday that climate change should be seen not only as a threat, but also as an opportunity to create new clean energy jobs, build a healthier society and regain competitiveness with China. It was.
“If we can’t lead the renewable energy revolution, it’s hard to imagine the United States winning long-term strategic competition with China,” he said. “Now we are behind.”
He said China holds nearly one-third of the world’s renewable energy patents and is the largest producer and exporter of solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and other innovations.
“If we don’t catch up, America will miss the opportunity to shape the future of the world’s climate in a way that reflects our interests and values, and we will lose countless jobs for Americans.” Blinken said.
Contributions: Ledyard King and Courtney Subramanian, USA TODAY
Biden promises to reduce U.S. emissions by 50% at the Climate Summit
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