Biden Summit Triggers Renewed Climate Commitments


    Stockholm (NordSIP) – At the Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate convened by USA on April 22nd and April 23rd, world leaders made a number of important announcements about. During the summit, President Biden endeavoured to bring the USA back into a climate leadership role which the country lost during the four years of the Trump administration.

    Biden’s Commitments

    The Biden Administration announced that the United States will target reducing emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. Previously, the Obama administration had committed to reducing US emissions by 26% to 28% 2005 levels by 2025.

    - Promotion -

    Beyond the headline figure, President Biden also announced the scaling up pf international financing to address climate needs, announcing that the US intends to double its annual public climate finance to developing countries by 2024. “We intend to triple our public financing for climate application in developing countries by 2024, recognizing the dividends that pays in reducing the costs of disasters and conflicts are avoided,” the US President said.

    In parallel with these efforts, the white house announced the US government will support developing countries in establishing net-zero strategies, implementing their nationally determined contributions and national adaptation strategies, and reporting on their progress under the Paris Agreement. Among plans, the USA will also issue its first International Climate Finance Plan. laying out how federal agencies and departments responsible for international climate finance will work together to deliver that finance more efficiently and with greater impact.

    A Race to the Top?

    Although it is easy to be cynical about the fragility of the USA’s commitments to climate change in the aftermath of the Trump Administration, it appears that the return of the USA to the forefront of the fight against climate change has not gone ignored by other countries.

    President Xi Jinping also announced China will limit coal-fired power generation projects, limit the increase in coal consumption until 2025, and phase it out altogether between 2026 to 2030. President Moon Jae for his part also announced that South Korean would stop funding coal-fired power plants overseas, an activity for which the state-owned Korean Export Import Bank (KEXIM) and its green bond programme has come under fire recently. In Brazil, President Bolsonaro pledged to end illegal deforestation in the country by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

    Japan, Canada and the UK took this opportunity to increased their emissions reduction targets. Japan increased its target from 26% to 46% by 2030 compared to 2013 levels. Canada followed suit increasing its targets from 30% to 40%-45% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. On the even of the summit, the UK increased its target from 68% by 2030 to 78% by 2035.

    Whether all these commitments will be adhered to remains to be seen. For now, we are left hoping these ambitious targets will be transformed into deeds.

    Image: Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith

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