On the last day of the climate summit, this Friday (23), US President Joe Biden said he had seen “great progress” in the climate change debates and celebrated the speech of the Russian leader – and his antagonist political -, Vladimir Poutine, who wants to achieve carbon neutrality in his country by 2050.
As host of the virtual meeting that brought together 40 world leaders, Biden is trying to encourage other countries to come up with more ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to curb global warming by 1.5 ° C, but faces obstacles, one since major economies, like China and India, were unwilling to commit to more overwhelming numbers for the next decade.
“We have made great strides so far, in my opinion. I am grateful to all the leaders who have announced new commitments to help us deal with the threat of climate change,” the US president said. “We are also very excited by President Putin’s appeal yesterday [quinta] for the world to cooperate in the advanced elimination of carbon dioxide, and the United States looks forward to working with Russia and other countries in this effort. It is a great promise. “
Russia is responsible for around 5% of pollutant emissions, the United States 12.6% and India 7%. Leader China is issuing around 27% and did not announce any new targets at the Biden-led meeting. The Asian country had already committed, in December, to reducing its emissions of polluting gases before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality in 2060.
The American president wanted to make the last day of the summit a way of detailing the plan to keep his ambitious promise to halve emissions in the United States by 2030. The new commitment was formalized by Biden at the opening of the meeting virtual, to try to lead the debate and encourage other powers to make stronger announcements on the road to zero emissions by 2050.
But the Democrat knew he had the challenge of explaining how to do it, as specifying the plan is one of his government’s demands in conversations with other countries, including Brazil. Biden has tried to show that after setting big targets for reducing pollutant emissions, changes are needed in the production chain, with public and private investment and job creation anchored in clean energy.
“Today’s final session is not about the threat of climate change, but the opportunity presented by the response to climate change, with the creation of millions of well-paying jobs around the world.” In this line, he invited entrepreneurs and investors, such as Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, to discuss investments – public and private – in the substantial overhaul of the American production chain, with the elimination of the use of the coal to generate electricity and the replacement of motor cars, gasoline for electric vehicles, for example.
In the video, Gates called for a “huge new” public and private investment in innovation to meet US and global goals. According to him, “using only today’s technologies will not allow us to achieve our ambitious goals”. Many of these initiatives are included in the trillion dollar infrastructure package launched by Biden last month that promises to renovate roads, bridges and sanitation in the United States while creating jobs and opening up the way to the Democrat’s environmental agenda.
Biden tries to show that the strength of the executive’s promise – coupled with the popular support he tries to get from the job creation rhetoric – is enough, but the money and policies to achieve the goals depend the approval of Congress, divided between Republicans and Democrats on the green agenda.
Hosting 40 world leaders at the summit, Biden wanted to show that the United States is reliable in leading a more just and sustainable economy, regaining the country’s prestige in the multilateral scenario after four years of isolationism under Republican Donald Trump.
Also among those attending Friday’s summit were US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and US Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm, aides Biden deemed essential to spur the country’s energy transition. Buttigieg has championed the stimulus for electric car production and pollution control in the current fleet, with stricter federal rules.
Finally, the US president reiterated that the meeting he organized is a first step towards COP26, the UN climate conference, scheduled for November in Scotland. “This summit is a start that will take us to Glasgow, where we will deliver on these commitments, setting all our nations on the path to a secure, prosperous and sustainable future,” he said.