President Joe Biden called on world leaders Thursday to step up their efforts to combat climate change, weeks after a United Nations panel warned time is running out for the world to avoid the worst effects of a warming planet.
What You Need To Know
- President Joe Biden called on world leaders Thursday to step up their efforts to combat climate change
- The U.S. hosted the virtual Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which included senior officials from about 20 countries, the European Commission and the U.N.
- Last month, the U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change released a report in which it said humanity is running out of chances to prevent the worst of climate change’s harms
- Biden highlighted actions his administration has taken aimed at curtailing global warming and urged world leaders to back up their words with action before the United Nations Climate Change Conference is held Nov. 30-Dec. 12 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The U.S. hosted the virtual Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which included senior officials from about 20 countries, the European Commission and the U.N.
“We're at a moment of great peril, but also great possibilities, serious possibilities,” Biden said in his opening remarks from the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex. “With the right commitment and follow-through from every nation … on this call, the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees [Celsius] can stay within reach. But it's going to take all of us.”
Biden highlighted actions his administration has taken aimed at curtailing global warming, including signing the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which includes billions of dollars in investments to fight climate change, and the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes spending to boost clean energy, manufacture electric vehicles and install more than 500,000 EV charging stations nationwide.
The president also touted the United States’ efforts to reduce wildfires, cap dormant wells leaking methane, invest in carbon capture technologies and propose new vehicle emission standards.
Biden said those actions and others have the U.S. “on track to achieve a 1.5-degree aligned goal, cutting emissions by 50 to 52% by 2030.”
Last month, the U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change released a report in which it said humanity is running out of chances to prevent the worst of climate change’s harms. The panels’ scientists said doing so would require quickly slashing nearly two-thirds of carbon pollution in 2035, and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an end to new fossil fuel exploration and for rich countries to quit coal, oil and gas by 2040.
Thursday’s meeting was the third gathering of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate under Biden. John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, said that when the leaders first convened, the world was on course to be 3 degrees hotter.
After vowing then to try to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, “we are now on a better course, though we are not yet where we need to be,” Kerry said.
The International Energy Agency, according to Kerry, has said warming could be limited to 1.7 degrees if nations meet their targets and fulfill their commitments. ”Yet our actions do not yet match our stated ambition,” he said. “The policies presently in place still leave us on a path to 2.5 degrees of warming.”
Biden urged world leaders to back up their words with action before the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP 28, is held Nov. 30-Dec. 12 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Biden announced the U.S. will give $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund, which helps developing nations combat climate change, and called on other nations to contribute as well.
“All of you know as well as I do, the impacts of climate change will be felt the most by those who have contributed the least to the problem, including developing nations,” he said. “As large economies and large emitters, we must step up and support these economies.”
As part of that effort, the president urged countries to join the U.S. in raising at least $200 million this year to help developing nations mitigate methane emissions.
Biden also announced that his administration is requesting $500 million to donate to the Amazon Fund and other climate-related activities over the next five years to support Brazil’s efforts to end deforestation by 2030. He asked leaders to make their own investments to help protect forests around the world, which absorb greenhouse gas emissions.
“The time to act is narrowing,” Biden said. “Together, we have to make it clear that forests are more valuable conserved than cleared.”
He also challenged nations to develop new projects to manage carbon pollution by 2030.
And Biden called on development banks to scale up their lending to help battle climate change, which he argued would also accelerate the fight against poverty.
“Because climate security, energy security, food security — they're all related, he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.