Developing countries are increasingly concerned that their need for financial assistance to cope with the climate crisis will go unmet, as leaders of the world’s biggest economies meet for a virtual White House summit on the climate.
Joe Biden, the US president, is hosting more than 40 world leaders virtually over the next two days to discuss ways of fulfilling the 2015 Paris climate agreement, and to encourage leading economies to bring forward plans for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade.
Such plans will be crucial to limiting global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, in line with scientific advice. But alongside these pledges, developing countries are seeking strong new commitments on another crucial area: climate finance, the flow of money from public and private sector sources in the rich world to help the poor world reduce emissions and cope with the intensifying impacts of extreme weather.
Lidy Nacpil, coordinator at the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, said: “We are at a point where we know what needs to be done to reverse the climate chaos and it boils down to this simple principle: wealthier countries, who emit more now and historically, can and should do more with their emissions reductions and delivery of climate finance.”
Joe Biden delivered some introductory remarks for the climate summit this morning, when he formally announced the new US goal to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.
“The United States sets out on the road to cut greenhouse gases in half by the end of this decade. That’s where we are headed as a nation,” the US president said.
Biden noted the two-day virtual climate summit is “bringing together leaders from around the world to meet this moment of climate peril and extraordinary opportunity”.
The president emphasized that the climate change response would only be successful if it is a global endeavor.
“No nation can solve this crisis on our own,” Biden said. “All of us, all of us, and particularly those of us who represent the world’s largest economies, have to step up.”
The US has vowed to cut its planet-heating emissions by at least half by the end of the decade, in a ramping up of ambition aimed at rallying other countries to do more to confront the climate crisis.
Ahead of a virtual gathering of dozens of world leaders in a climate summit called by Joe Biden, which begins on Thursday, the White House said the US will aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by between 50% and 52% by 2030, based on 2005 levels.
This new target, to be formally submitted to the United Nations, represents a stark break from the climate denialist presidency of Donald Trump and will “unmistakably communicate that the United States is back”, according to a White House official who was briefed on the emissions goal. “The United States isn’t going to wait, the costs of delay are too great and our nation is resolved to act right now,” the administration official added.
The US is scrambling to regain international credibility after Trump pulled the country out of the Paris climate agreement. But the Biden administration said it has already helped secure improved emissions reductions from Canada, Argentina and Japan, meaning that, along with new pledges by countries such as the UK, governments that oversee half of the global economy have targets consistent with stopping the planet’s average temperature from rising above 1.5C, a key Paris goal to avoid disastrous climate impacts.
Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.
Greta Thunberg, the 18-year-old climate activist from Sweden, is scheduled to virtually testify before the House oversight committee’s subcommittee on the environment today.
The hearing, which comes on Earth Day, is entitled The Role of Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Preventing Action on the Climate Crisis.
“This hearing will discuss the dire health and economic impacts of fossil fuel subsidies and why the current administration and the rest of the international community should fulfill their commitments to repeal fossil fuel subsidies,” the subcommittee said in a statement last week about the hearing.
Thunberg has repeatedly criticized countries for not doing enough to confront climate change, and the activist has described government subsidies for fossil fuels as “madness”.
The hearing also comes as Joe Biden kicks off a two-day virtual climate summit with dozens of world leaders, so much of the testimony from Thunberg and other activists at the hearing will likely be directly aimed at the US president and his foreign counterparts.
The hearing will get under way in about an hour, so stay tuned.