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Biden announces US-UE negotiating carbon-conscious trade agreement

Monday, November 1st 2021 - 08:55 UTC
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Biden isisted western leaders needed to focus “on what China’s not doing, what Russia is not doing and what Saudi Arabia is not doing.” Biden isisted western leaders needed to focus “on what China’s not doing, what Russia is not doing and what Saudi Arabia is not doing.”

As the Glasgow COP26 climate Summit was starting, US President Joseph Biden said from Rome that the United States and the European Union had agreed to negotiate “the world's first trade agreement based on how much carbon is in a product”.

Biden insisted tackling the climate crisis had been an “all hands on deck effort” as he unveiled new steps to strengthen global supply chains.

“We're going to COP to deal with renewable energy,” Biden announced. He also said he believed his Build Back Better plan and the $1 trillion infrastructure bill will be voted on sometime this week, “God willing.” And “it's going to pass, in my view,” he added. The bill includes nearly US $ 2 trillion in taxes and spending to help rebuild the economy after the COVID-19 crisis.

Biden also stressed people were disappointed that Russia and China leaders didn’t “show up” at the G20 Summit, but the leaders who did attend made “significant progress” regarding climate change. “I think you are going to see we have made significant progress and more has to be done,” he said.

“It’s going to require us to continue to focus on what China’s not doing, what Russia is not doing and what Saudi Arabia is not doing,” he went on.

Meanwhile, US climate envoy John Kerry outlined what was to be expected at Glasgow, such as raising “global ambition very significantly,” which entails countries committing to what he called a “decade of action” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“We also know that there’s real loss and damage out there, that there are nation-states that are talking about where their people are going to move because the sea level is rising. There are areas where people can no longer live. And migrants are moving around the planet as a consequence of the destruction of habitat,” Kerry said.

“I don’t think you can galvanize the kind of global action that you need to be able to accomplish our goals if we're not being sensitive and thoughtful about people up and down the economic food chain and people who have done nothing, in most cases, to contribute to the problem.”

The climate summit follows a meeting of G-20 leaders in Rome where they agreed to work to reach carbon neutrality “by around mid-century” and pledged to end financing for coal plants abroad by the end of this year, but failed to agree on phasing out coal domestically. The grouping of 19 countries and the European Union accounts for more than three-quarters of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. In October, two dozen countries joined a U.S.- and EU-led effort to slash methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030. Coal, though, is a bigger point of contention. G-20 members China and India have resisted attempts to produce a declaration on phasing out domestic coal consumption.

Climate financing, namely pledges from wealthy nations to provide US $ 100 billion a year to support developing countries efforts to reduce emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change, is another key concern. Indonesia, a large greenhouse gas emitter that will take over the G-20 presidency in December, urged developed countries to fulfil their financing commitments both in Rome and in Glasgow.

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