Biden Set to Host World Leaders for Climate Forum

The president is urging nations to take on more ambitious climate targets.,

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Biden is meeting with world leaders for a climate forum.

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Biden Urges World Leaders to Accelerate Action on Climate Crisis

At a virtual forum, President Biden pressed for a global allegiance in fighting climate change less than two months before a United Nations conference where nearly 200 nations are expected to announce new emissions-cutting targets.

There’s a real consensus, a real consensus, that while the climate crisis poses an existential threat, there is a silver lining. The climate crisis also presents real and incredible economic opportunities to create jobs and lift up the standard of living for people around the world. We’ve got to bring to Glasgow our highest possible ambitions, those that have not yet done so, time is running out. For our part in America, I’m working to pass the historic investment and to modernize our climate resilient infrastructure to build a clean energy future that creates millions of jobs and ushers in new industries of the future. As part of this work, the United States is committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 50 and 52 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. The countries representing the Major Economies Forum account for 80 percent of global emissions. Without adequate commitments from every nation in this room, the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees slips through our hands, and that’s a disaster. The finding from the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change represents a code red for humanity and the time to act is really narrowing, as the Secretary just pointed out, to get to close to a point of no return. We don’t have a lot of time. So we have to act. All of us, we have to act. We have to act now.

At a virtual forum, President Biden pressed for a global allegiance in fighting climate change less than two months before a United Nations conference where nearly 200 nations are expected to announce new emissions-cutting targets.CreditCredit…Angus Mordant/Reuters

Sept. 17, 2021Updated 12:43 p.m. ET

President Biden is hosting a climate change summit Friday morning that is expected to draw pledges from the United States, Europe and a number of countries to slash their use of methane, a potent planet-warming greenhouse gas, according to environmental groups.

The White House meeting, which is called the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, is being held virtually, and began early Friday. It comes less than two months before a pivotal United Nations conference in Glasgow where nearly 200 nations are expected to announce more ambitious emissions-cutting targets than they had previously set in order to keep the world from overheating.

Mr. Biden sent a letter to leaders of some of the top-polluting nations this month inviting them to the forum and stressing that it was incumbent upon the world’s biggest economic powers to take the lead in keeping global temperatures from rising to catastrophic levels. Scientists have set that guardrail at below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.

“As leaders of the world’s major economies, we must ensure that our efforts during this critical decade are swift and bold enough to keep the goal of holding temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach,” Mr. Biden wrote in a letter to the president of Argentina that was posted on an Argentine government website.

The United States under Mr. Biden has pledged to cut emissions 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Yet legislation to make that promise a reality faces trouble in Congress. Other major emitters like China and India have yet to put forward new targets.

In addition to prodding nations to set tough new targets, Mr. Biden is inviting countries to join a global pledge of cutting methane 30 percent by 2030. Methane, which is the main component of natural gas, is the second most powerful greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide.

Environmental advocates said they were optimistic a number of countries would agree to that benchmark, calling it a potentially significant step in curbing climate change. While methane has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, it is, per unit, more than 20 times as potent at warming the planet.

“Slashing methane emissions is the most important action countries can take to slow global warming in the next few decades,” said Nathaniel Keohane, the president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

The United States is also likely to face pressure at the forum to boost its funding to help developing countries pivot to cleaner energy and cope with the consequences of climate change. In April, the Biden administration pledged to deliver $5.7 billion annually by 2024.

Jake Schmidt, a senior strategic director for international climate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, noted that the European Union contributed more than $25 billion annually to help the world’s poorer nations address climate change. He called on Mr. Biden to allocate at least $12 billion annually by 2024 ahead of the Glasgow summit.

“The U.S. needs to be bolder on climate finance if we are going to have a chance of success,” Mr. Schmidt said.

Under the Obama administration, the Major Economies Forum typically drew the world’s largest emitters, including the European Union, China, India and Australia, as well as a smattering of other nations that have been pivotal in the global negotiations.

As of late Thursday night, the White House declined to say which countries had accepted Mr. Biden’s invitation.

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