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Joe Biden says we’re still falling short on climate change


US President Joe Biden delivers a speech on stage during a meeting at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1, 2021.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

GLASGOW, Scotland – President Joe Biden urged world leaders to meet at the COP26 climate summit, warning that no country can escape what is to come if policy makers don’t seize the opportunity.

“At the moment we are still too short. There is no more time to sit back or sit on the fence or argue with one another,” said Biden on Monday. His comments came as he spoke to assembled delegates in Glasgow, Scotland.

“This is the challenge of our collective life, the existential threat to human existence as we know it, and with every day we delay the cost of inaction, it will be the beginning of a decade of transformative action,” he added.

The UK is hosting UN-brokered climate talks from Sunday to November 12th. The meeting is widely seen as an opportunity to prevent the worst that the climate emergency could bring.

Biden said the US has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

This was designed to “demonstrate to the world that the United States is not only back at the table, but hopefully is leading with the power of our example,” Biden said. “I know it wasn’t, and that’s why my government is working overtime to show that our commitment to climate action is action, not words.”

The COP26 summit, postponed for a year by the coronavirus pandemic, is taking place six years after the groundbreaking Paris Agreement was signed by nearly 200 countries to limit rising global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and ” efforts to continue “warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

To have a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the world must almost halve greenhouse gas emissions over the next 8 years and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Climate scientists have repeatedly emphasized that the best weapon to combat rising global temperatures is to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Disappointing G-20 summit

Biden’s arrival in Scotland’s largest city comes shortly after the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies breached major climate promises over the weekend in Rome, Italy.

The G-20 summit resulted in countries agreeing on “sensible and effective” measures to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a threshold that is seen as extremely important to avoid disaster .

However, the joint communique offered few concrete measures with no explicit commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

This means that policy makers are now facing an uphill battle to hit the moment at COP26.

Biden said on Sunday he shared the disappointment of activists and activists after a disappointing G-20 summit. The US president accused China and Russia of not “appearing” in the talks before adding that “more needs to be done”.

China and Russia are committed to net zero emissions by 2060, a decade later than many large economies.

The US’s domestic climate agenda has also been subjected to intensive scrutiny in recent weeks, as the President’s actions have not yet complied with his repeated assertion that the climate crisis poses an “existential threat”.

Biden reintroduced the world’s largest economy and second largest emitter to the Paris Agreement in one of his administration’s first acts, but he faces significant challenges to overcome skeptics of American climate leadership in Scotland.

“For those who have eyes to see, for those who have ears to listen and for those who have a heart to feel, 1.5 is what we need to survive,” said Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley. on Monday at COP26.

She added that 2 degree heat “is a death sentence for the people of Antigua and Barbuda, for the people of the Maldives, for the people of Dominica and Fiji, for the people of Kenya and Mozambique and yes, for the people of Samoa.” and Barbados. “

“We don’t want that dreaded death sentence and we came here today to say: try harder.”