By the end of the last decade, the United States has promised to reduce carbon emissions by 50-52% from 2005 levels.
Announced at the 40 Global Leaders Virtual Summit, this new goal basically doubles the previous promise.
Americans hope their ambitious new plans encourage China, India and other countries to move further ahead of the important COP26 meeting in Glasgow in November. ..
However, given the divisive nature of US politics, there is skepticism about the ability of the United States to achieve new goals.
The UK is one of the countries eager to show ambitions prior to the conference. Earlier this week, the Prime Minister announced the UK’s “world-leading” goal of reducing emissions by 78% at the 1990 level by 2035.
The UK has played an important role as COP26 chair this year and is tasked with reaching an agreement in Glasgow when world leaders meet in Glasgow in November.
Biden’s ambitions are challenged
Climate was the central focus of the first few months after the inauguration of the Biden administration.
In addition to rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and hosting the Summit on Thursday, the Byden team has been working on a strong pledge to convince the world that they mean business.
Many commentators urged the United States to reduce emissions by 50% as a clear signal of intent.
The fact that President Biden is ready to go beyond this level is a welcome surprise for many scientists and activists.
“By the end of the decade, President Biden said the moment the climate crisis demanded by announcing a bold goal of reducing emissions by 50-52% from 2005,” said Nat Keohane of the US Environmental Defense Fund. We responded to the urgency. “
“This goal is in line with what science says is needed to guide the world on the path to a safer climate, pushing the United States to the top tier of global leaders in climate ambition. “
The new pledge will make a big difference in the American way of life. Coal needs to disappear from the combination of electricity, but cars and trucks that blow gas need to use electricity.
But announcing an ambitious goal is one thing, and achieving it is another.
The Democratic Party has a majority in the House of Representatives, but the Senate is essentially deadlocked, making it quite difficult to pass new climate legislation.
“President Biden seems to be a little detained. He has to deal with his parliament,” said Samantha Gross of the Brookings Institution.
“But I believe Congress, especially Republicans, hasn’t really caught up with growing concerns among Americans about climate.”
US and China are enthusiastic about cooperation
Some of the 40 leaders attending the summit There are Xi Jinping Jintao of China.
Despite severe tensions between the United States and China on many issues, both appear keen to keep climate change separate from these controversies.
Prior to the meeting, senior executives warmly spoke about the co-operative approach.
“It is clear that there is a clearly shared level of ambition. Both countries see this as a crisis. They recognize the need for action in the 2020s. They both see a 1.5 rise in global temperature. We recognize the need to work to keep things down, “he said.
“We certainly hope that President West will attend the talks and elaborate on some of the additional efforts that China will choose, but the joint statement made by the two countries is very high. I think there is a strong basis. The direction in which they appear to be moving. “
But for other countries that were slow to accept action on climate change, the Biden team was less enthusiastic.
Brazil and Australia’s skeptical approach to this issue was endorsed by the Trump White House. It’s no longer the case.
“At this point, I think my Australian colleagues are aware that a shift is needed,” said one source.
“It’s not enough to follow the existing trajectory, and we hope they will follow the path to deep decarbonization and reach net zero emissions by the middle of the century.”
“What is expected of all countries is that ambition must be raised immediately,” the official said of Brazil.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to say at the Virtual White House Conference:
“If we really want to stop climate change, this year must be a year in which we take it seriously.
“The 2020s are remembered as a decade of unity and turnaround for world leaders, or as a failure.”
In addition to the US promise, new steps announced by many countries are also expected.
“I think Canada, Japan and South Korea are the three most likely to step up outside the United States at this summit,” said Helen Mountford of the World Resources Institute (WRI).
“China … would be great, but I think [we] Maybe I’ll wait longer, but I’m not expecting it at this time. “
“India is a real question mark, but I think it’s unlikely, whether they intend to announce either a Net Zero goal or an enhanced plan,” he added. ..
For those involved in the negotiations that led to the 2015 Paris Agreement, the important thing this week is not to upset the debate on the first hurdle.
This is the first major climate conference of a significant year, with approximately 200 world leaders gathering in Glasgow at COP26 in November.
“For a successful U.S. summit, 40 leaders need to be present and express their willingness to reach a strong agreement by Glasgow,” said Remy Liu, a French negotiator at the Paris talks. I think. “
“And again, to show that the United States has returned, and that they have returned as compellingly and strongly as possible.”
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