Washington, Sep 17 (EFE).- The president of the United States on Friday proposed a 30 percent reduction in global methane emissions by 2030, joining with the European Union in promoting an initiative that he expects will gain momentum during November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Scotland.
“We have to bring to Glasgow our highest possible ambitions,” Joe Biden said at the start of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, a virtual meeting organized by the White House that builds on the Leaders Summit on Climate the US president hosted in April. “Those that have not yet done so, time is running out.”
He cautioned that unless the world’s largest economies make adequate commitments to tackling climate change “the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees (Celsius this century above pre-industrial levels) slips through our hands. And that’s a disaster.”
“A further step we’re working with the European Union and other partners to launch is a Global Methane Pledge to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030,” Biden said.
“This will not only rapidly reduce the rate of global warming, but it will also produce a very valuable side benefit, like improving public health and agricultural output.”
Methane is the second-most abundant anthropogenic (human activity-derived) greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and, according to the White House, is responsible for “about half a degree (Celsius) of warming.”
Biden said he trusts more world leaders will be convinced to join the methane initiative, whose official launch is scheduled to take place during the Glasgow summit.
Nevertheless, the leaders of the world’s two other most-polluting countries along with the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, did not attend Friday’s Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.
The other leaders attending via teleconference were the presidents of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador; Argentina, Alberto Fernandez; Indonesia, Joko Widodo; and South Korea, Moon Jae-in; as well as Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The prime minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson; the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen; the president of the European Council, Charles Michel; and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also took part in the meeting.
None of the other participants made public remarks during the forum, with the media only having access to Biden’s address and to speeches by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the US’s special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry. EFE