Biden is seeking to revive a US-hosted climate forum of the world’s major economies that George W. Bush and Barack Obama have both used and that Donald Trump has let languish. Leaders from some of the world’s biggest climate change victims, benefactors and backsliders round out the rest of the 40 invitations delivered on Friday, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It will be held practically on April 22 and 23.
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The summit organization will honor a campaign pledge and executive order from Biden, and the administration is timing the event with its own upcoming announcement of what is a much more difficult US goal to reorganize the US economy to shrink. significantly emissions from coal, natural gas and petroleum.
The session – and whether it’s discussions or progress – will test Biden’s commitment to making climate change a priority among competing political, economic, political and pandemic issues.
It will also pose a very public – and potentially embarrassing or empowering – test of whether America’s leaders, and Biden in particular, can still drive global decision-making after the Trump administration has pulled out of the world and rocked the world. long-standing alliances.
The Biden administration intentionally looked beyond its international partners for the summit, reaching out to key leaders for what it said were sometimes difficult discussions on climate issues, an administration official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss US plans for the event.
Leaving Trump’s Approach
Trump scoffed at the science behind the urgent warnings about global warming and the resulting worsening droughts, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters. He withdrew the United States from the UN’s Paris climate accords in 2015 as one of his first actions as president.
That makes next month’s summit the first major international climate debate by a U.S. leader in more than four years, although leaders in Europe and elsewhere have continued talks.
US officials and a few others give the Obama administration’s climate talks some credit for laying the groundwork for the Paris Agreement. The United States and nearly 200 other governments in those talks each set targets for reducing their fossil fuel emissions and pledged to monitor and report their emissions.
Another administration official Biden said the United States still decides how far the administration will go in setting a more ambitious U.S. emissions target.
The Biden administration is hoping the scene provided by next month’s Earth Day climate summit – which is expected to be fully virtual due to COVID-19 and accessible to the public live, including breakout conversations – encourage other international leaders to use it as a platform to announce their own countries’ stricter emissions targets or other commitments, ahead of the UN global climate negotiations in Glasgow.
The administration more broadly hopes that the session will demonstrate a commitment to reducing emissions at home and encouraging the same abroad, the official said.
This includes encouraging governments to adopt specific and politically bearable means to reorganize their transportation and power sectors and their global economies now in order to achieve those more difficult future goals, which the Biden administration is just launching into. .
Like the major economy climate forums held by Bush and Obama, Biden’s guest list includes leaders from the world’s largest economies and European blocs.
This includes two countries – Russia and China – that Biden and his diplomats clash with over election interference, cyber attacks, human rights and other issues. It is unclear how these two countries in particular will respond to invitations from the United States, or whether they are willing to cooperate with the United States to reduce emissions while fighting on other matters.
China is the world’s largest emitter of climate-damaging pollution. The United States is No. 2. Russia is No. 4.
Climatologists and climate policy experts have widely praised Biden’s international openness to climate negotiations, especially China outreach.
“China is by far the world’s largest emitter. Russia must do more to reduce its emissions. Not including these countries because they are not doing enough would be like launching an anti-smoking campaign but not targeting it at smokers, ”said Nigel. Purvis, who worked on climate diplomacy in the former Democratic and Republican administrations.
Ideally, government leaders will look for opportunities to discuss specific issues, such as the possibility of a broad agreement on a price on carbon emissions, said Bob Inglis, a former Republican lawmaker who is working to ” involve conservatives and conservative approaches in climate efforts.
“That’s why this kind of awareness makes sense,” he said.
Brazil is on the list as a major economy, but it’s also a major climate setback under President Jair Bolsonaro, who derailed efforts to preserve the carbon-sucking Amazon and joined in Trump to flout international climate commitments.
The 40 guests also include leaders from countries facing some of the most serious immediate threats, including Bangladesh and the Marshall Islands, countries considered to model good climate behavior, including Bhutan and some Scandinavian countries, and African countries. with variously important carbon sinks. forests or large oil reserves.
Poland and some other countries on the list are seen as likely to move away from dirty coal power faster.
As a candidate, Biden pledged $ 2 trillion in investments to help transform the United States into a zero-emission economy by 2050 while creating clean energy and tech jobs.
Biden and other administration officials underlined the United States’ climate intentions in initial one-on-one talks with foreign leaders, and Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry focused on foreign diplomacy to galvanize climate efforts.
Biden discussed the summit in a conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday, with both leaders agreeing on the need to maintain ambitious emission reduction targets, the White House said.