US President Joe Biden has urged world leaders to “double down” their resolve to fight global warming, saying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reinforces the need to phase out fossil fuels.
We can no longer plead ignorance of the consequences of our actions or continue to repeat our mistakes,” Biden said.
The president’s brief attendance at the United Nations climate change conference, known as Cop27, was largely a winning streak, as he highlighted new spending on clean energy initiatives that would “change the paradigm” for the United States and the rest of the world.
“The climate crisis is about human security, economic security, environmental security, national security and life on the planet,” Biden told a crowded delegates’ hall at the UN summit in the coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh.
“I can stand here as President of the United States and say with confidence that the United States will meet our emissions targets by 2030,” he said, outlining the steps taken by the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter.
But Mr. Biden glossed over how he has pushed for more oil and gas production to cut costs that have been politically problematic at home and fueled the invasion of Ukraine by allowing Russia to fetch higher prices on its energy exports.
“This gathering must be the moment to reset our future and our collective ability to create a better story for the world,” Biden said.
Mr Biden spent just three hours in Egypt, including a meeting with the country’s autocratic leader, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, before continuing his world tour.
His next stop was Cambodia for a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders and then Indonesia for the annual summit of the Group of 20 of the world’s largest economies.
Mr. Biden left Washington late Thursday, buoyed by a stronger-than-expected showing by the Democratic Party in Tuesday’s midterm elections, an earlier passage of the largest climate investment in US history by Congress and backlash by the Russian military on the Ukrainian battlefield.
At the climate conference, Mr. Biden discussed a new by-law that will target methane emissions, expanding on a similar rule his administration released last year.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes significantly to global warming.
Mr. Biden also highlighted one of his key domestic policy achievements — Democrats’ massive health and climate protection bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act.
The US commitment of around $375 billion over a decade to fight climate change gives Mr. Biden greater leverage to urge other nations to meet their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and shift the global economy to cleaner energy sources.
“The United States government puts our money where our mouth is,” he said.
Mr Biden said the spending, which is part of broader economic legislation he signed into law this year, will ensure the US meets its 2030 emissions reduction target.
Mr Biden argued that “good climate policy is good economic policy,” and he called on all major emitting countries to “align their ambitions” with the international goal of limiting future global warming to 1.5C, according to the White House.
But even with these new efforts, America and the world still have a long way to go to meet emissions targets that scientists hope will curb global warming. And the political will for more investment is dwindling.
Mr. Biden acknowledged that climate crises “hit hardest those countries and communities that have the least resources to respond and recover,” a reference to a key theme of the summit.
Known as “loss and damage,” it’s about asking rich countries like the United States, historically the most polluting nation, to essentially pay reparations for damage done to poorer, more vulnerable nations that don’t have much heat-storing carbon dioxide expel.
Mr. Biden announced in his speech that the US would contribute $150 million “as a down payment” to initiatives aimed at helping Africa adapt to climate change.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/joe-biden-says-climate-efforts-more-urgent-than-ever-at-cop27-summit-42138151.html Joe Biden says climate efforts are ‘more urgent than ever’ at Cop27 summit