President Joe Biden has said that the climate crisis is not America’s fight alone, but a global one as he asserted that he pushed for the US to meet its international obligations to slow the impact of climate change.
“The climate crisis is not our fight alone, either. It’s a global fight,” Biden said in his first speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night.
He said that the United States accounts for less than 15 per cent of carbon emissions while the rest of the world accounts for 85 per cent. “That’s why I kept my commitment to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on my first day in office,” he said.
While former president Barack Obama signed the Paris Climate Accord his successor Donald Trump pulled the US out, calling it unfair to American coal miners and the energy industry. Biden has rejoined the landmark accord soon after assuming office in January.
Under the Paris agreement, each country has to set its own emission-reduction targets, known as national determined contributions and the pact’s goal was to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
“I kept my commitment to convene a climate summit in America of all the major economies in the world, China, Russia, India, European Union. I started doing it in my first 100 days, Biden said.
“I wanted the world to see that there is consensus that we are at an inflection point in history. And the consensus is if we act, we can save the planet and we can create millions of jobs and economic growth and opportunity to raise the standard of living for everyone in the world,” he said.
“For too long, we have failed to use the most important word when it comes to meeting the climate crisis. Jobs. Jobs. For me, when I think about climate change, I think jobs,” he added.
Last week, President Biden hosted his country’s first-ever climate summit attended by 40 world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wherein he announced an ambitious new target for the US to achieve a 50-52 per cent reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution in 2030.
Biden had called on the world leaders gathered at the summit on Earth Day to take action within their own countries to curb emissions.
“We have to step up,” Biden told the summit, which was attended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel among others.
China, India, Russia, Japan and the US are among the world’s biggest emitters.
The US-hosted two-day Climate Leaders Summit was seen as building momentum on the road to the COP Biodiversity Summit in Kunming, China, in October and the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
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