US President Joe Biden convened the leaders of the most powerful countries in the world on Thursday to spur global efforts in combating climate change, drawing commitments of cooperation from Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin despite their sharp rifts with the United States.
Addressing a meeting of more than 40 world leaders in the virtual climate summit on Earth Day, President Biden warned that the times are short to address the global heating and urged other countries to do more. The attendees included leaders from the most powerful countries in the world, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Meeting this moment is about more than preserving our planet,” Biden declared at the virtual summit. “It’s about providing a better future for all of us,” he said, calling it “a moment of peril but a moment of opportunity.”
“The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. The cost of inaction keeps mounting,” he added.
Shortly before the start of the summit, the White House said that the United States will aim to cut fossil fuel emissions by 50 to 52% by 2030. Biden said that the new US goal will set it on the path to zero emissions by 2050 and other countries now needed to raise their ambitions in this regard.
“Particularly those of us that represent the world’s largest economies, we have to step up,” the US president said in a speech opening the gathering.
“Let’s run that race, win a more sustainable future than we have now, overcome the existential crisis of our time.”
Biden’s commitment marked the return by the United States to a global climate effort after four years of withdrawal by former President Donald Trump. The Biden administration is sketching out a vision of a prosperous, emission-free United States where oil, gas and coal will be replaced by clean electrical energy. Companies focusing on electrical vehicles – like Tesla – are also suspected to receive a boost during President Biden’s tenure.
Furthermore, the Biden administration also outlined a new plan to double the amount of funding the US gives to other developing countries to combat the alarming consequences of climate change, like droughts and floods.
A procession of world leaders then followed Biden, with the Chinese President Xi Jinping urging the world countries to be “committed to harmony between man and nature.” He also stated that China – the biggest emitter in the world – will peak its emission more quickly than other countries of the world. The Chinese president said that his country is ready to work in liaison with the United States to rein in climate change.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also spoke at the virtual summit, saying that Russia is interested in galvanizing global efforts in combating climate change. Putin’s government has been publicly irate over Biden’s characterization of him as a “killer” for Kremlin’s aggressive moves against its opponents. The Russian president did not remark his feud with the US president.
“Russia is genuinely interested in galvanizing international cooperation so as to look further for effective solutions to climate change as well as to all other vital challenges”, Putin said.
Despite the commitments, neither China nor Russia unveiled any specific emission cuts themselves.
Other countries of the world also unveiled emission cuts they intend to acquire. Japanese President Yoshihide Suga said that his country aims to cut emissions to 46% by 2030. Canada also upped its goal from 40 to 45% emission cut by 2030.