(Bloomberg) – President Joe Biden brings dozens of foreign leaders together with business leaders, union leaders and Pope Francis for a two-day virtual summit to strengthen the global fight against climate change and restore US credibility on the issue.
The heads of state of all 40 invited nations have agreed to attend the event, which begins on Earth Day, Thursday. Biden wants to prove that the US is determined to cut greenhouse gas emissions deeply in order to avert the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.
The meeting aims to drive more aggressive climate action that can prevent average temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), a major turning point.
The heads of state and government of some of the world’s most emitting countries will appear alongside representatives of smaller island states already dealing with the consequences of a warming planet. Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to appear during the conference, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to speak live.
Around 18 top US government executives, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, will attend, along with executives from Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., electric vehicle maker Proterra Inc. and others.
Biden government officials said they would “increase” climate change-related ambitions and intend to use whatever tools available to deal with the crisis, including finances, which will be the focus on day one. While many of the recent international climate debates have focused on the role of multilateral development banks and formal climate protection programs, the conversation at this week’s summit will include a broader look at the role of private capital in promoting clean energy and building resilience, governing officials said.
Also on the agenda is a Thursday session on nature-based solutions to climate change, e.g. B. to reduce deforestation, promote sustainable agricultural practices and preserve wetlands.
Click here to view the event schedule for the two-day summit
Friday’s summit will focus on unleashing the technological innovations necessary to curb emissions and make climate change economically viable.
Government officials plan to point out ongoing corporate and state governments’ climate action as a sign of lasting progress in the US, even as former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Agreement and dismantled domestic policies that are essential to reducing emissions.
Biden has made tackling climate change a priority. He has set up an interacting task force, appointed a White House climate kazar to coordinate action, and instructed authorities to consider a number of new rules to promote clean energy. This week’s summit is his first big step in addressing the climate on the global stage.
In the coming weeks up to The summit, President’s Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry, has traveled the world to elicit stronger commitments to reduce emissions from US allies. Some of these efforts have borne fruit as Japan, Canada, the UK, and other nations are expected to set more aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets to warm the planet.
Government officials found the US is responsible for 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions and expect participating nations will use the forum to make announcements about their own plans to tackle climate change.
On Wednesday, Kerry said he was expecting “some announcements” from Xi about what China plans to do by 2030 to tackle the emissions. The next nine years, Kerry said, will be critical to putting the earth on a path to slow global warming.
“If we don’t have people signing up to increase ambitions by 2020 to 2030, we won’t get where we need to be by 2050,” Kerry said during an interview streamed online with the Washington Post. “And there is no stopping the earth’s temperature from rising to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
Before it even starts, the US climate summit is helping to spark greater ambitions, said David Waskow, director of the International Climate Initiative at the World Resources Institute. But an important test will be how much money the Biden government is spending on helping developing countries adapt to climate change and pursue clean energy projects, Waskow said.
“The summit clearly pushed ahead with measures at the beginning of the year,” said Waskow. “There is still a lot to do, but that gives us the traction we need.”
Kerry’s push so far has not prompted India, the world’s third largest emitter, to set a target for achieving net zero domestic emissions. Other nations like Brazil are seeking more financial support to curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
Other challenges concern negotiations with China as the US tries to divide climate talks, taking into account trade, intellectual property and human rights. Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken warned on Monday that the US would not allow other countries to use climate change as a chip “to excuse bad behavior in other areas”.
Meanwhile, Xi issued his own veiled criticism on Tuesday when he urged other nations to avoid “bossing others around” and insisted that “the future fate of the world should be decided by all countries.”
The US pledge would require dramatic changes in the US energy landscape, from the way electricity is generated to the cars that cross the country’s highways. The US would also need to reduce emissions from the industrial sector by using carbon capture technology in ethanol factories, cement factories and petrochemical plants.
Ahead of the Thursday and Friday summit, Biden will announce a US vow to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions at least in half from 2005 by the end of the decade, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Biden administration is also advancing a number of actions to reinforce this pledge to reduce carbon emissions – including working to raise US government spending on electric vehicles and more money to support other nations in the process Pursuit of spending clean energy.