President Biden joined dozens of world leaders today as part of a two-day virtual summit to address the global climate crisis.
Here were some of the notable developments from the summit:
- Global call to action: Biden asked world leaders to take action to combat climate change collectively as he announced an aggressive new goal for greenhouse gas emissions. Biden pointed to actions the US would take, an effort to reassert US leadership and put the US back to the center of the global effort to address the climate crisis after the Trump administration largely disengaged. “The signs are unmistakable, the science is undeniable that the cost of inaction, it just keeps mounting. The United States isn’t waiting. We are resolving to take action, not only our federal government, but our cities and our states all across our country, small businesses, large corporations, American workers in every field,” he said.
- Cut emissions: Biden committed the United States to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% below its 2005 emissions levels by 2030. Officials said Biden and his team arrived at the final number in a meeting at the White House on Wednesday morning. While the goals are a part of the Paris climate agreement that Biden rejoined upon taking office, they are non-binding and the administration has not rolled out a plan on how the US will meet them.
- More funds needed: Brazil's environment minister, Ricardo Salles, said Thursday that for Brazil to enforce its plan to reduce deforestation and carbon emissions by 2030 it will need more funds for resources. “Brazil presented to the United States, about a month ago, and at their request, an action plan so that in 12 months, if there are resources, it could move quickly towards reversing deforestation," Salles said in a news conference after President Jair Bolsonaro’s speech at the virtual summit to discuss climate issues convened by Biden.
- Trying to make history: Europe wants to be “the first climate-neutral continent in the world,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during Thursday's climate summit. “Yesterday, we agreed Europe's first-ever Climate Law with the European Parliament and our 27 governments. With this, we write into stone the goal set out by the European Green Deal – to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050,” von der Leyen said.
- Celebrating Earth Day: As 40 world leaders convened for Biden's virtual climate summit, Pope Francis appealed for the world to “take care of the biodiversity, take care of nature” in a video message on Earth Day. Speaking in Spanish, Francis spoke about the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on nature and climate change it had when the world “stopped.” Both “global catastrophes” – climate change and Covid-19 — “demonstrate that we have no longer time to waste," he said.