US President Joseph Biden Thursday pledged to reduce his country's greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by 2030 during the opening speech of a virtual Climate Summit he convened featuring several world leaders and which is regarded as a preliminary encounter leading up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this coming November.
The two-day summit brought together, albeit online, 40 world leaders in the framework of the International Mother Earth's Day. There were two from the Caribbean Islands -Antigua and Barbuda and Jamaica- and five from Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico). The rest of the guests are Germany, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, China, Congo, South Korea, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Spain, France, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Marshall Islands, Nigeria, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, UK, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam, in addition to representatives from both the European Commission and the European Council.
Biden led the United States back into the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement last February, reversing former President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from it. The goal of the Biden administration is to place the United States at the forefront of the international campaign to curb climate change.
Those who take action and make bold investments in their people in a clean energy future will get the good jobs of tomorrow and make their economies more resilient and competitive, said Biden in his speech. These steps will put America on the path to a net zero emissions economy by 2050 at the latest, he added.
Biden made reducing carbon dioxide from fossil fuels a critical part of his $ 2.2 trillion infrastructure plan and called for the United States to move toward eliminating net greenhouse gas pollution. This is the decade in which we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis, Biden said. We have to take action on this, and this summit is our first step on the road we will travel together, he added.
Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping, the first leader to speak after Biden, defended Beijing's record on climate change, even as the country - the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases - is under pressure to move faster. to achieve the carbon neutrality that the country set for 2060. China has pledged to go from peak carbon to carbon neutrality in a much shorter period of time than many developed countries might need, Xi said.
Meanwhile, Argentine President Alberto Fernández echoed Biden's message that no one is saved alone and called on us to coordinate regional and solidarity measures.
Fernández also warned that the new generations are watching us; the time of doubt is over; no one is saved alone; let us go through a different time together with social, financial and environmental justice, as he longed for a debt swap in exchange for climate action.
He also claimed that his Government had put climate and environmental action at the center of its convictions and quoted Juan Perón when stating that it should become aware of the suicide march that humanity has undertaken through environmental contamination. The Argentine leader also pointed out in this regard that not only does his country honor the goals of the Paris Agreement but it also calls for greater measures and efforts that include, for example, an efficiency plan for transportation, industry and construction and making illegal deforestation an environmental crime
While Argentina is discussing the renegotiation of the debt with the International Monetary Fund, Fernández criticized the irresponsible over-indebtedness acquired before the pandemic and called for greater flexibility in terms, rates, and conditions for the payment of commitments.
And Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who once threatened to use gunpowder” against pressure to reduce Amazon deforestation, promised carbon neutrality would be achieved by by 2050, very much in line with the letter he sent this month to Biden, which represents a noticeable attitude change.