The Leaders Summit on Climate took place on Earth Day the 22 April in advance of the United nations Climate Change Conference this November in Glasgow.
“A key goal of both the Leaders Summit and COP26 will be to catalyze efforts that keep the 1.5 goal within reach.” This is the target that scientists have said is necessary to limit planetary warming. (1)
European President von der Leyen announced the European Green Deal which aims to make Europe carbon neutral by 2050. All 27 countries in the European Union have agreed to the new targets.
“We also have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.” stated Ursula von der Leyen. (2)
President Biden committed the United States to cutting emissions by half by the end of the decade during the virtual Earth Day Summit. His Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told world leaders that climate change policies must be “Fully integrated” and central to any countries national security strategy. (3)
Following Trump’s disregard of the Paris agreement the current President Joe Biden intends to re-energise the USA’s position as a superpower that is serious about delivering change. This is in order to prevent further environmental damage and disasters that are caused around the world by global warming.
The US has doubled financial support for Brazil’s program to prevent deforestation which includes land regularization and ecological-economic zoning. (4)
China’s President Xi Jinping promised to “strictly limit increasing coal consumption” and further phase it down over the next five years. The Chinese aim to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2060. (3)
India’s President Narendra Modi is currently dealing with a deadly wave of coronavirus and a severely impacted economy but pledged to expand India’s “renewable energy projects and urged people to make lifestyle changes.” (3)
As the UK scrapped the Green Deal scheme for environmental upgrades and improvements for homes all over the country due to administrative problems the Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to quickly phase out the mining and burning of coal. (5)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed announced a plan named the ‘Saudi Green Initiative’ that aims to reduce emissions by generating half of its emissions by renewable energy by 2030. The Prince also intends to plant 10 billion trees in the Kingdom.
In Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Sugra plans to discuss cooperation on decarbonisation in a meeting with Joe Biden this month. The leaders will discuss Japan “ending support for the exportation of coal fired power plants” to support the international effort to focus on decarbonisation. (5)
Australia is working on a project to direct renewable energy sources such as solar power and batteries to fully power their national grid permanently. This will end reliance on more polluting coal and gas systems. (6)
Russia’s President Vlladimir Putin spoke at the virtual Climate Conference confirming the Russian Federation’s commitment to “meeting the environmental emissions objectives in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.” Russia has introduced new legislation to control carbon emissions which have helped to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half during the last 30 years.
Putin urged governments everywhere to look at all types of emissions including methane and explained that Russia had been doing this successfully in order to look holistically at reducing atmospheric pollutants. Putin echoed Biden and Johnson’s view that sustainability programs should be seen in a global context. Putin also mentioned how environmental initiatives can generate economic benefits and should be tailored to address high priority areas where poverty is a big problem and there is a development gap for communities.
Canada increased its previous target to reduce emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 to a 40-45% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030. (8)
40 world leaders attended the virtual event hosted by the democratic US President Biden. There is much hope and positivity at the success of this online event and it is encouraging that so many countries are taking part. Now we need to see the promises of those in charge of our nations turned into action. The emissions and temperature data will show us if we are all on track. It is crucial that everyone including future generations can benefit from fresh air and freedom from the potentially disastrous and negative effects of global warming on our land and seas.
(1) ‘President Biden Invites 40 World Leaders to Leaders Summit on Climate’ The White House US Government briefing, 26 March 2021 ‘President Biden Invites 40 World Leaders to Leaders Summit on Climate’ The White House
(2) ‘Speech by President von der Leyen at the Global Leaders Summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden on the occasion of Earth Day’ European Commission Brussels, 22 April 2021 ‘Speech by President von der Leyen at the Global Leaders Summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden
(3) ‘Biden’s Intelligence Director Vows to Put Climate at ‘Center’ of Foreign Policy, The New York Times, 30 April 2021 ‘Biden’s Intelligence Director Vows to Put Climate at ‘Center’ of Foreign Policy, The New York Times
(4) ‘Climate envoy offers rebuttal to countries wary of US looking to reemerge as global climate leader’ Besty Klein, CNN politics, 22 April 2021 ‘Climate envoy offers rebuttal to countries wary of US looking to reemerge as global climate leader’ Besty Klein, CNN
(5) ‘Joe Biden invites 40 world leaders to virtual summit on climate crisis’ Carbon Brief Daily Briefing 29 March 2021 ‘Joe Biden invites 40 world leaders to virtual summit on climate crisis’ Carbon Brief Daily Briefing
(6) ‘Renewables plus batteries offer Australia the same energy security as coal, research finds’ Nino Bucci, The Guardian, 28 March 2021 ‘Renewables plus batteries offer Australia the same energy security as coal, research finds’ Nino Bucci, The Guardian
(7) ‘Leaders Summit on Climate’ with Vladimir Putin’, President of Russia, Kremlin, Moscow, 22 April 2021 ‘Leaders Summit on Climate’ with Vladimir Putin’, President of Russia, Kremlin, Moscow
(8) ‘Leaders Summit Showcases Clean Energy Commitments to Tackle Global Climate Crisis’ IISD SDG Knowledge Hub, 28 April 2021 ‘Leaders Summit Showcases Clean Energy Commitments to Tackle Global Climate Crisis’ IISD SDG Knowledge Hub