Biden says climate crisis is about 'the very life of the planet'

Biden says climate crisis is about ‘the very life of the planet’

US President Joe Biden said Friday (November 11) at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt that global warming poses an existential threat to the planet and promised that the United States would meet its targets to combat it.

His speech was intended to spur global ambition to stave off the worst of climate change, even as a host of other crises – from a land war in Europe to runaway inflation – distract international attention.

“The climate crisis is about human security, economic security, environmental security, national security and the very life of the planet,” Biden told a crowded room of delegates at the UN summit in the resort town of Sharm. el-Sheikh.

“I can stand here as President of the United States of America and say with confidence that the United States of America will meet our emissions goals by 2030,” he said, describing the measures taken by the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

Prior to his arrival, the Biden administration unveiled a national plan to curb emissions from the U.S. oil and gas industry of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases. The move defied months of lobbying by drillers.

Washington and the EU also issued a joint statement alongside Japan, Canada, Norway, Singapore and Britain pledging to more action on oil industry methane. The statement was meant to build on an international agreement launched last year and since signed by around 130 countries to cut economy-wide emissions by 30% in this decade.

“Reducing methane by at least 30% by 2030 may be our best chance of staying within reach of 1.5 degrees Celsius,” Biden said, referring to the central Paris Agreement goal of 2015 to limit global temperature rise.

Biden said global crises, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, were no excuse to scale back climate ambition.

“In this context, it is more urgent than ever to redouble our efforts in our climate commitments. Russia’s war only reinforces the urgency of the need to lift the world out of its dependence on fossil fuels,” he said.


The announcements are accompanied by a cloud of skepticism that the world’s governments are doing enough to meet the climate challenge.

A UN report released last week showed global emissions are set to rise 10.6% by 2030 from 2010 levels, even as devastating storms, droughts, wildfires and Floods are already causing billions of dollars in damage worldwide.

Instead, scientists say emissions must fall by 43% by then to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures, as targeted by the 2015 Paris Agreement. from this threshold, the risks associated with climate change begin to spiral out of control.

Many countries, including the United States and members of the European Union, have also called for a near-term increase in fossil fuel supply to bring down consumer energy prices that soared after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Washington has repeatedly said its calls to boost oil and gas production do not conflict with its longer-term ambition to decarbonize the US economy.

During his speech, Biden also promised increased funding to help other countries embrace the energy transition and adapt and prepare for the impacts of a warmer world.

This issue was a sore point during the talks; rich countries have so far failed to fully deliver the $100 million pledged each year for climate adaptation. Last year’s transfer only reached around $83 billion.

“He announced a series of new climate programs, but he couldn’t deliver what the developing world wants most – enough money to adapt to climate extremes,” said Alice Hill of the Climate Crisis Advisory. Group and former Obama administration official.

She pointed out that Biden will need the US Congress to increase that funding, which could become more difficult after his Democratic party lost seats in this week’s midterm elections.

Harjeet Singh, head of policy and advocacy group Climate Action Network International, also criticized Biden for not clearly backing a proposal to have rich countries pay for climate damage in poor countries.

“It’s radio silence on financing loss and damage,” Singh said, calling Biden “out of touch with the reality of the climate crisis.”

Human rights activists have criticized UN organizers for hosting COP27 in Egypt, whose government has been accused of abuses since the 2013 military overthrow of its first democratically elected president.

Upon Biden’s arrival, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told him that Egypt had launched a national human rights strategy and wanted to develop in this regard.

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