The U.S. has vowed to reduce its carbon emissions by the end of the decade, as President Joe Biden has promised that the new goals will help create jobs and maintain American competition.
Canada, Japan and South Korea also promised climate change for Biden’s a two-day environmental conference, which affected 40 leaders around the world including Chinese President Xi Jinping, while the US urged more countries to reduce emissions.
Xi has promised to “lose ground” on coal use in the five years since 2025, the first time a Chinese leader has vowed to reduce coal consumption.
In the wake of the midnight press and Beijing officials talking about Xi, it was revealed that this will continue to keep Chinese glasses growing until 2026.
Su Wei, China’s deputy secretary general of state planning, said coal was still needed for sustainable electricity. “We want sustainable electricity and we have no other option, because for a while we will need coal-fired power” to increase sustainable energy sources, he said.
A US-led conference on Earth Day, just three months from the US reunited with the Paris climate deal, and I’m trying to re-establish the US leadership on an issue that has become a major issue for Biden’s management.
“We are here to discuss how each of us, each country, can have celestial ambitions that can create paid jobs,” Biden told the gathering. “We have no choice, we have to do this.”
Biden said the UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November would be important in addressing “the current crisis”.
New US targets will reduce its annual fuel consumption by 1.5bn-2.4bn tons of carbon dioxide equivalent to 2030 compared to its destination, according to the Climate Action Tracker.
Global annual emissions will be about 33bn tons this year, according to the International Energy Agency.
South Korea has pledged to suspend foreign aid for coal, which John Kerry, the US ambassador to the United States, requested during a visit there last week.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Prime Minister, says his country will reduce emissions by 46% by the end of the decade, according to 2013 estimates.
However, Greta Thunberg, a Swedish freedom fighter, said her expectations were “insufficient” and full of opportunities.
“Let’s invite friends,” said Thunberg, 18 a video posted on Twitter the same day as the Biden conference. “We are not so ignorant as to believe that everything will be solved by countries and companies that are making vague goals.”
Global warming has risen more than 1C since 1850, and a UN COP26 conference later this year will try to bring the world down to a temperature of 1.5C, a goal set by the climate agreement in Paris.
So far the commitments made at the 2015 Paris agreement, which was ratified by 197 countries, are far from what would be needed to achieve the 1.5C target, despite the new targets announced at the summit.
The UK, which oversees COP26, has encouraged other rich countries to invest more in the economy, an issue that will be of great importance to Glasgow.
A good conference would require “rich countries to come together and continue what they have already done for $ 100bn [in annual climate finance]”, Said Boris Johnson, the UK’s prime minister.
Respecting the meeting, Johnson said the fight against climate change was not just about “bunny hugs” and it was indeed a chance to get a job.
The Prime Minister also cited the UK’s history of increasing its economy and reducing its emissions. “Cake, eat, is my message to you,” he said.
Additional reports by Ed White and James Politi
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