Saying the United States and other big economies "have to get this done," President Joe Biden opened a global climate summit on Thursday aimed at getting world leaders to dig deeper on emissions cuts. The United States pledged to cut in half the amount of climate-wrecking coal and petroleum fumes it is pumping out.
"Meeting this moment is about more than preserving our planet," Biden declared, speaking from a TV-style set for a virtual summit of 40 world leaders. "It's about providing a better future for all of us," he said, calling it "a moment of peril but a moment of opportunity." "The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. The cost of inaction keeps mounting," he added.
Biden's administration is sketching out a vision of a prosperous, clean-energy United States where factories churn out cutting-edge batteries for export, line workers re-lay an efficient national electrical grid and crews cap abandoned oil and gas rigs and coal mines.
His commitment to cut US fossil fuel emissions up to 52% by 2030 marks a return by the US to global climate efforts after four years of withdrawal under President Donald Trump. Japan, a heavy user of coal, announced its own new 46% emissions reduction target Thursday before the summit opened as the US and its allies sought to build momentum. The Biden administration's pledge would require by far the most ambitious US climate effort ever, nearly doubling the reductions that the Obama administration had committed to in the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord.