PARIS – US President-elect Joe Biden pledged to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on Saturday on the first day of his presidency when world leaders hosted a virtual meeting to mark the fifth anniversary of the International Curb Celebrating global warming.
Heads of state and government from over 70 countries attended the event, hosted by the UK, France, Italy, Chile and the United Nations to announce greater efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming.
The outgoing administration of President Donald Trump, who pulled Washington out of the Paris Agreement, was not represented at the online gathering. However, in a written statement sent out shortly before the start, Biden made it clear that the US was waiting on the verge of accession, noting that Washington was key to negotiating the 2015 accord, which has been held by almost every country in the world since then has been ratified.
“The United States will rejoin the Paris Agreement on the first day of my presidency,” he said. “I will immediately work with my colleagues around the world to do all we can, including convening the leaders of the major economies for a climate summit within my first 100 days in office.”
Biden reiterated his election promise that his administration would aim to cut US emissions Net zero “By 2050 at the latest.”
Experts say The commitments made by the international community over the past five years have already improved the long-term prospects for climate change and reduced the likelihood of worst-case scenarios by the end of the century. But forest fires in the Amazon, Australia and America, floods in Bangladesh and East Africa, and record temperatures in the Arctic have made the impact of a 1.2 degree Celsius (2.2 Fahrenheit) rise clear as the planet is pre-industrial.
“If we don’t change course, we could be heading for a catastrophic rise in temperature of more than 3 degrees (Celsius) this century,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, calling on world leaders to create a “climate emergency.” to explain.
The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to well below 2 ° C (ideally no more than 1.5 ° C) by the end of the century. To meet the temperature target, fossil fuels must be phased out and the world’s carbonaceous forests, wetlands and oceans better protected.
The UN chief described the announced return of the USA to the Paris Agreement as “a very important signal”.
“We look forward to very active US leadership in climate action from now on,” said Guterres. “The United States is the largest economy in the world. It is imperative that our goals be achieved.”
Biden insisted that the dramatic economic changes would be positive for American workers.
“We have tremendous economic opportunities ahead of us to create jobs and prosperity domestically, and to export clean American-made products around the world to use our climate change efforts in ways that are good for American workers and the US economy “, he said.
The American representatives of the virtual meeting included Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Governor Charlie Baker from Massachusetts and US business leaders such as Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Important economies such as Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Saudi Arabia were also absent. Most have not recently offered any significant improvements to their existing emissions targets.
Environmental activists highlighted Brazil’s recent announcement that it will meet its target of 43% emissions reductions over the next decade compared to 2005 and target net zero by 2060 – later than most other countries.
In contrast, is a Agreement Friday by members of the European Union Increasing the continent’s goals for 2030 from 40% to at least 55% compared to 1990 was generally welcomed, although activists said they could have pursued even higher goals.
Also China, the largest emitter in the world surprised the world In September, in his speech on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced further details on his country’s medium-term goal of improving energy efficiency and increasing electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and sun.
However, Xi also warned that “unilateralism will get us nowhere” – a disguised reference to discussions in the EU about putting tariffs on goods imported from countries that have less stringent emissions standards than the 27-nation bloc. The topic is likely to dominate the discussion between China, the EU and the USA in the coming years.
The Maldives, a nation in the Indian Ocean made up of low-lying islands particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, announced on Saturday that it will now have a target of net zero by 2030, one of the most ambitious Destinations worldwide. Bhutan and Suriname claim to have already achieved this goal.
The 189 countries that are parties to the Paris Agreement will have to submit their updated targets to the United Nations by the end of the year. This would normally have happened at the annual UN climate summit, but the event has been postponed for a year because of the pandemic.
At the meeting, which is now due to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021, financial support for poor countries to cope with climate change will be haggled and the rules for international markets in emissions trading will be clarified. The UK, host of next year, announced this month that it intends to cut emissions by 68% over the next decade End state support for fossil fuel industry exports.
Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, who played a key role in the Paris negotiations, said leaders have a duty to be optimistic about their ability to curb global warming.
“Because if we don’t do that, the alternative is unthinkable,” she said. “None of us adults who are still alive today would like to take responsibility for transforming a world that is a world of misery for future generations.”
Frank Jordans reported from Berlin.
Summit website: https://www.climateambitionsummit2020.org