Today President Joe Biden committed to cutting U.S. fossil fuel emissions up to 52 percent by 2030. His statement came during a virtual climate change summit with 40 world leaders.
Presidents Xi Jinping of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia both committed to working on cutting emissions. In a call to action, Biden said, “The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. The cost of inaction keeps mounting.”
The Biden administration’s return to global climate efforts marked a sharp departure from withdrawal under former President Trump.
First, the Biden plan calls for the U.S. to embrace clean energy, and renovate our electrical grid. Next, we would create batteries for use at home and abroad, and last, we would give up oil and gas exploration and coal mining. Japan announced a 46 percent emissions reduction as its goal. South Korea, not to be left out, said it would stop public financing of new coal-fired power plants. Climate advocacy groups are hoping these proclamations will reduce China and Japan’s use of coal.
Despite technical glitches during the opening of the virtual summit, it did attract many of the world’s most powerful leaders. The pandemic made gathering world leaders too risky. The coronavirus continues to hamper efforts to have meaningful, spontaneous conversations and negotiations. The summit did fulfill Biden’s campaign promise to confront climate change head-on. Biden’s $2 trillion package includes revamping our transportation system, electrical grid, and infrastructure.
China, which discharges more emissions than any other country, said in its opening statement, “To protect the environment is to protect productivity, and to boost the environment is to boost productivity. It’s as simple as that.”
Putin made no mention of his disagreements with Biden, when he said, “Russia is genuinely interested in galvanizing international cooperation so as to look further for effective solutions to climate change as well as to all other vital challenges.” Russia is said to be the fourth-largest emitter of fossil fuel fumes.
The Biden plan would be the U.S.’ most aggressive climate effort ever, even more so than Obama administration reductions in the 2015 Paris climate accord. German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the U.S. back into the accord after Trump pulled out, boosted oil and gas production, and disregarded the science underlying climate warnings.
[Image: Stratos Brilakis/Shutterstock.com]