With people beginning to experience the effects of climate change firsthand, it’s becoming even more necessary for world leaders to step in and help address the problem. President Joe Biden recently pledged to slash 50% of the US greenhouse gas pollution by 2030 as part of the Paris climate pact. While Biden recognizes that the actions of the country in the coming years will not solve the climate problem in its entirety, the president aims to encourage other nations to follow suit and pave the way for a greener American economy by 2050.
Biden’s climate change effort aims to aggressively target specific sectors such as energy and the transportation industry. In an online two-day summit attended by 40 leaders from across the globe, Biden said, “Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade, this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of a climate crisis. We can’t resign ourselves to that future. We have to take action on this, and this summit is our first step on the road we’ll travel together.” The summit also wants to renew America’s leadership in climate change efforts globally. “No nation can solve this crisis on our own. All of us, and particularly those of us who represent the world’s largest economies, we have to step up,” added the US president.
The current goal of cutting emissions by half is nearly double the target set by the previous administration in 2015. Pledged on Earth Day, the commitment is drafted to be inlined with the goals of environmental groups and private companies pushing for greener practices in their respective industries. Biden refers to the effort as a moral and economic imperative, a moment of peril and of extraordinary possibilities. Other prominent countries were also on board with the goals set during the summit, including China, India, and Canada.
Chinese President Xi for insurance reiterated the country’s commitments to green development and multilateralism to reduce global emissions. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced the Climate and Clean Energy Agenda Partnership for 2030 between India and the United States. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also vowed to lead Canada to reduce greenhouse emissions by 40-45%. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also expressed Japan’s goal to implement stricter emissions control, targeting to reduce 46% of its global contributions by 2030.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also expressed Russia’s goal of limiting the volume of net emissions by 2050. “The fate of our entire planet, the development prospects of each country, the well-being and quality of life of people largely depend on the success of these efforts,” said Putin.
The United State’s return to rejoin the global efforts for climate change was much welcomed by world leaders after the previous president Donald Trump pulled America out of the Paris accord. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during the summit, “I’m delighted to see that the United States is back, is back to work together with us in climate politics.”
While world leaders aim to go big with their efforts in reducing greenhouse emissions, youth activists and environmental groups expressed their opinions, saying that the efforts are merely a “down payment” for what must be done and what should have been done. 18-year-old Xiye Bastida, an organizer of the youth climate group called Fridays for Future, said, “You need to accept the era of fossil fuel is over.”
Global climate icon Greta Thunberg also shared her message. “How long do you think you can continue to ignore the climate crisis?” Thunberg asked in a virtual House Oversight subcommittee hearing. “You still have time to do the right thing and to save your legacies, but that window of time is not going to last for long,” she continued. “So my advice for you is to choose wisely.”