Biden to Convene World Leaders to Talk Climate on Earth Day
(Bloomberg) -- The Biden administration is planning to host world leaders in a climate summit on Earth Day according to three people familiar with the matter, a sign of the new president’s commitment to not just rejoin the Paris carbon-cutting accord but also strengthen it.
The U.S.-hosted meeting on April 22 could be virtual, one of the people said, similar to a United Nation’s climate summit in December. That event featured six hours of remarks from world leaders, but they only offered incremental steps to combating climate change.
The U.S.-organized event, which could be announced next week as part of a package of climate-related policies, will be focused on major world emitters of planet-warming greenhouse gases.
That may increase pressure on President Joe Biden, who has signaled he wants the U.S. to encourage stronger climate action globally. During the campaign, Biden vowed to convene the leaders of major economies within his first 100 days in office and promised to increase the U.S. target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“U.S. leadership was essential to negotiating Paris and indispensable to bringing the agreement into force,” Biden said last month. “Over the last four years, however, the world has lost that momentum, and nations and people in every part of the world are feeling the devastating impacts of a changing climate. We haven’t come close to the bold action that’s needed, and today, we have no time to waste.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Biden has made climate change one of his main priorities and has set a goal of achieving a zero-emissions energy grid by 2035 and carbon net-neutrality by 2050.
Biden tapped John Kerry, President Barack Obama’s secretary of state and an architect of the Paris climate accord, to serve in the newly created role of special presidential envoy on climate change, the first time an official dedicated to climate change will have a seat on the National Security Council.
Kerry, in his first speech in the role on Thursday, warned that failure was “simply not an option” at the next round of global warming talks in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
“We really have the world’s last, most important opportunity to come together to raise ambition and to take the next step from Paris,” he said Thursday at B-20, a business leaders event advising G-20 nations.
Hours after taking office, Biden moved to restore the U.S. as a member of the Paris climate accord, which seeks to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius through steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The planned summit has been heralded by environmentalists
“This is one of the many manifestations of renewed U.S. commitment to climate action which will require America to be bolder, more creative, and more assertive in its domestic and international actions -- because the climate crisis demands an all hands on deck response,” said Jake Schmidt, head of the International Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.