Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov 11 (EFE).- Speaking on a day when a new alarming report on carbon emissions was released, US President Joe Biden said here Friday at the latest United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) that more urgent action is needed to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Biden’s speech lasted just over 20 minutes and was interrupted by applause on several occasions by attendees inside the Tonino Lamborghini International Convention Center.
“The United States is acting. Everyone has to act” in the battle against climate change, the US head of state said.
Countries that are in a position to help should be assisting developing countries in their efforts to make “decisive climate decisions,” Biden said, adding that “if countries can finance coal in developing countries, there is no reason why we can’t finance clean energy” in those places.
The president apologized for the decision of his predecessor, Donald Trump, to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement and pledged that the country will meet its carbon-reduction commitments by 2030.
“We are racing forward to do our part to avert the ‘climate hell’ that the UN secretary general so passionately warned about earlier this week,” Biden said.
He touted the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, a US law that he said will provide $370 billion to usher in a “new era of clean-energy-powered economic growth” and allow the US to reduce emissions by 1 billion tons by 2030.
Biden also reiterated his pledge to work with Congress to increase US international climate finance to over $11 billion annually by 2024.
Even so, he disappointed environmental activists by making no mention of an item that made its way onto the COP agenda for the first time this year – payment of compensation, or reparations, to vulnerable countries for climate change-fueled damage.
Although the climate summit will run until next Friday, Biden left Egypt after just a few hours and headed to Cambodia for a meeting with Asia-Pacific leaders.
On Monday, he will hold his first face-to-face talks as president with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Bali, Indonesia.
Climate change will be one of the items on the agenda at that meeting, which will take place on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Separately Friday, the Global Carbon Project said in its 2022 report that global emissions remain near record levels and that there are no signs they are falling.
“If current emissions levels persist, there is now a 50 percent chance that global warming of 1.5 C (above pre-industrial levels) will be exceeded in nine years,” it said, referring to the lower limit of acceptable warming committed to in the Paris Agreement.
The new report projects total global carbon-dioxide emissions of 40.6 billion tons (GtCO2) this year, just short of the record 40.9 billion tons in 2019, the year prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The 2022 picture among major emitters is mixed: emissions are projected to fall in China (down 0.9 percent) and the EU (down 0.8 percent), and increase in the USA (up 1.5 percent) and India (up 6 percent), with a 1.7 percent rise in the rest of the world combined,” the Global Carbon Project said. EFE