Earth Day summit was Joe Biden’s show – but China unwilling to increase its ambitions
There may have been 40 world leaders virtually present at President Joe Biden’s Earth Day summit but this was unmistakably his show.
The US pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 52% by 2030, a doubling of the previous target, was a very clear attempt to reclaim both credibility and leadership on climate change after four years of Donald Trump.
At first glance he has done what he set out to do – make a big splash on the global stage as many of the world’s largest economies and polluters, like the UK, the EU, Japan, South Korea and Canada back him up.
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This is a promising kick start to a crucial year of global climate diplomacy culminating in November at the UN climate summit in Glasgow known as COP26.
But the course of achieving international consensus under extreme pressure never did run smooth.
Although it has promised enhanced cooperation with America on climate change, China, the world’s largest polluter, remains unwilling to increase its ambitions from peak carbon emissions in 2030 and net zero emissions by 2060, 10 years later than many other major economies have pledged.
Like India, which is demanding more money and investment in order to shift its economy away from fossil fuels, China maintains it is doing its best, bristling at being lectured by those nations most responsible for historical emissions.
Scientists worry that if China doesn’t do more, what the rest of the world does won’t matter.
Adding to these challenges, every single country will have their own domestic politics to worry about.
That’s why you can hear the steady drum beat of ‘climate change = jobs’ in all of Joe Biden‘s speeches, and why Boris Johnson, in his own singular style, said ‘cake, have, eat is my message to you’.
There is much at stake.
The science now tells us that the decisions and progress we make in the coming decade will determine if the world can get to net zero emissions by 2050 and in doing so protect our planet from the very worst effects of global warming.
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As Joe Biden put it, a moment of great peril, but also of great opportunity.
And as President Macron of France said simply but effectively: “2030 is the new 2050.”
Sky News broadcasts the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.
Hosted by Anna Jones, The Daily Climate Show is following Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.
The show will also highlight solutions to the crisis and show how small changes can make a big difference.
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