President Biden commits to halve US emissions by 2030 at climate summit

Fri 23 April 2021 View all news

President Joe Biden has pledged that the US will cut greenhouse gas emission 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030 at an international conference convened by the US Government on Earth Day. The President said we are in a "decisive decade" for tackling climate change.

The new target, announced at a virtual summit of 40 global leaders, effectively doubles the US' previous commitment. The US is the world's second-leading emitter of greenhouse gases after China.

President Biden said: "We must try to keep the Earth's temperature to an increase of 1.5C. The world beyond 1.5 degrees means more frequent and intense fires, floods, droughts, heatwaves and hurricanes - tearing through communities, ripping away lives and livelihoods."

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the new US goal "game changing".

Other countries also announced deeper emissions cuts at the summit. Japan raised its target for cutting emissions to 46% by 2030, up from 26%. Canada's Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, raised his country's goal to a cut of 40%-45% by 2030 below 2005 levels, up from 30%.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said that his country would reach emissions neutrality by 2050, 10 years earlier than the previous goal.

A Greenpeace spokesperson commented: "Targets, on their own, won’t lead to emissions cuts. That takes real policy and money. And that’s where the whole world is still way off course."

Alok Sharma (reported by The Times), who is leading the UK’s preparations for COP26, described the announcements as “real progress, but we have further to go”.

Before the US climate summit, President Biden had unveiled a $2 trillion infrastructure proposal promising a central emphais on tackling climate change. The 'American Jobs Plan' aims to boost public transport and fund new research and development in breakthrough clean energy technologies

The measures targetted at cutting greenhouse gas emissions add up to more than $1 trillion over eight years — larger than the total recovery package Obama passed to tackle the deep recession following the banking sector collapse.

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