By John Michael Anzilotti
On April 22nd and 23rd, the United States hosted a two day “Leaders’ Summit on Climate Change” with the intent to “underscore the urgency – and the economic benefits – of stronger climate action” and “a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow”. In his opening remarks United States President Biden highlighted that the United States represents less than 15% of the world’s emissions and that “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”.
This statement kicked off a Summit in which world leaders, including the United States, offered steps to address the crises. Notable examples include Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stating the nation would reduce carbon pollution by 40% to 45% by 2030, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowing to reduce emissions 46% below 2013 levels, and President Biden promising a 50-52% reduction in U.S. greenhouse emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. While China’s Xi Jinping did not offer a new climate target, he did state that “China has committed to move from carbon peak to carbon neutrality in a much shorter timespan than what might take many developed countries, and that requires extraordinarily hard efforts from china” with “peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060”.
From the United Nations, Secretary-General, António Guterres, urged leaders across the globe to make strides in climate action, stating that “Mother Nature is not waiting. We need a green planet – but the world is on red alert”.
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa noted “This Summit, hosted by U.S. President Biden, which brought together more than 40 nations representing 80% of global emissions, is an encouraging and positive step in the right direction. We congratulate the commitments shown by several nations at the summit and I urge all nations to carry forth this leadership and momentum to the crucial COP26 negotiations scheduled for this November in Glasgow.”
Ultimately Secretary-General Guterres called for the international community to make a “decade of transformation”. And, in the spirit of COY16, and continuing the global youth climate effort “Young people are pushing their elders to do what is right”