Decisive moment in the battle against climate change

Thursday, 2021-04-22 09:40:14
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The US-hosted climate summit is an important opportunity for countries to make strong commitments and take immediate action in the fight against climate change.
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NDO – The Leaders Summit on Climate, hosted by the United States, will be taking place virtually on April 22-23, gathering the participation of about 40 world leaders, including those from countries with the highest volume of emissions.

In a moment that is considered decisive to promoting or missing global efforts in response to climate change, the summit is expected to issue more drastic commitments in this gunless battle.

The hosting of the summit is seen as one of the testaments to the Biden administration’s commitment to resuming the US’s leading role in the fight against climate change. Determining this as a national security issue, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned of the global impact of climate change as well as the dangers to the US if the country does not step up its response efforts. If successful in leading the world to deal with the climate crisis, the US will take advantage of the great opportunity to create high-quality jobs. In late January, US President Joe Biden announced a plan to spend more than US$2 trillion to modernise the infrastructure system and address climate change. The US Department of the Treasury appointed climate change financial advisor John Morton to head the department’s new “climate hub” to foster green finance and use tax policy and financial risk assessments to help reduce carbon emissions.

Ahead of the summit, the US launched diplomatic efforts to promote international cooperation on climate issues. Special US envoy on climate John Kerry made a series of tours to Europe, the Middle East, India, and China to discuss joint coordination actions. The most important roles in addressing the impacts of climate change are played by the US and China, the world’s two largest economies and largest CO2 emitters. Despite many disagreements existing between the two sides regarding other issues, both countries have affirmed their willingness to cooperate in enhancing information exchange and realising the goals set out in the Paris Agreement on climate change, thereby further contributing to the efforts to resolve the climate crisis. The US is expected to make and implement a commitment to cutting at least 50% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Pledging to promote international cooperation to combat climate change and contribute to the US-hosted summit, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and the country’s politicians and experts discussed many measures, including the “climate partnership” between Japan and the US. While affirming his determination to put Japan in the lead regarding the field, with commitments to neutralising carbon emissions by 2050 and setting many medium-term goals, Prime Minister Suga urged for the acceleration of the process to develop a green international financial centre.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also announced that he would devise a separate roadmap to inch Australia towards an emissions target of net zero through the best technology. As one of the first major economies committing to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, the UK is also set to introduce a new target of cutting carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 ahead of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), to be hosted by Scotland this November. This is an ambitious step forward compared to its previous goal of reducing emissions by 68% by 2030.

2020 was recorded as one of the hottest years in history, while the amount of greenhouse gas emissions has continued to increase. The world is facing many challenges in the fight against climate change when in 2021, the global economy recovering from the COVID-19 will trigger a rise in CO2 emissions. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that CO2 emissions this year will increase by nearly 5%, to 33 billion tonnes.

Faced with such an urgent situation and with time running out to resolve the climate crisis, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed that 2021 should be a year of action to protect the planet from the catastrophic consequences of climate change. The US-hosted climate summit is an important opportunity for countries to make strong commitments and take immediate action.