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Biden's Climate Summit Day 1: Here's What to Know

Today was the first day of President Joe Biden's first climate summit as President. Following John Kerry's successful climate talks with China, Biden invited forty world leaders to meet virtually today (Earth Day) and tomorrow (Friday). While I will publish an in-depth review on Saturday, after the summit comes to a close, here are the highlights from day one.

Key Points

  • Biden announced his new emissions target for 2030: a 50 to 52% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, while keeping the economy strong and "positioning American workers and industry to tackle the climate crisis."

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia stepped away from his country's enormous coal industry to pledge $1.5 billion to combating the climate crisis.

  • With more good news, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised Canada's 2030 emissions target to 40 to 45% below 2030 levels, while Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan raised targets to 46% from previously 26%.

  • Yet, all of these plans fall behind the E.U.'s plan of a 55% reduction from 1990 levels and a coming U.K. goal for 78% from 1990. Adjusting the U.S.'s cut to the 1990 baseline yield only a 40% reduction from those levels.

  • Developing nations once more stipulated that wealthy nations must provide financial support in exchange for efforts to curb emissions.

    • In response, Biden has pledged to double the U.S.'s climate funding for developing countries by 2024.

  • Meanwhile, China and India kept their previous pledges, continuing to grow emissions before reducing them.

    • President Xi Jinping of China acknowledged the economic importance of climate policy, saying "to improve the environment is ot boost productivity. We need to make sure that a sound environment is there to buttress sustainable economic and social development worldwide."

  • President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil promised to end illegal deforestation by 2030, but demanded "fair payment... as a way to recognize the economic nature of environmental conservation activities."

Tomorrow, I'll summarize the key points of day two, and stay tuned for an in-depth review of the summit and Biden's 2030 reductions target on Saturday.


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