Climate : a “make or break” moment

Under the terms of the Paris deal, countries promised to come back every five years and raise their carbon-cutting ambitions. That was due to happen in Glasgow in November 2020, but was postponed to November 2021 due to the pandemic.. 

At this time, world leaders will be gathering in Glasgow for the successor to the landmark Paris meeting of 2015.

In perspective of the event, President Biden took a promising initiative : on March 26, he invited 40 world leaders to the so called “Leaders Summit on Climate” he will host on April 22 and 23.  The virtual Leaders Summit will be live streamed for public viewing.

The Summit will reconvene the U.S.-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which brings together 17 countries responsible for approximately 80 percent of global emissions and global GDP.  

The President also invited the heads of other countries that are demonstrating strong climate leadership, are especially vulnerable to climate impacts, or are charting innovative pathways to a net-zero economy.  A small number of business and civil society leaders will also participate in the Summit.

Key themes of the Summit will include:

  • Galvanizing efforts by the world’s major economies to reduce emissions during this critical decade to keep a limit to warming of 1.5 degree Celsius within reach.
  • Mobilizing public and private sector finance to drive the net-zero transition and to help vulnerable countries cope with climate impacts. 
  • The economic benefits of climate action, with a strong emphasis on job creation, and the importance of ensuring all communities and workers benefit from the transition to a new clean energy economy.
  • Spurring transformational technologies that can help reduce emissions and adapt to climate change, while also creating enormous new economic opportunities and building the industries of the future.
  • Showcasing subnational and non-state actors that are committed to green recovery and an equitable vision for limiting warming to 1.5 degree Celsius, and are working closely with national governments to advance ambition and resilience.
  • Discussing opportunities to strengthen capacity to protect lives and livelihoods from the impacts of climate change, address the global security challenges posed by climate change and the impact on readiness, and address the role of nature-based solutions in achieving net zero by 2050 goals. 

Quoted by the New York Times, Rachel Kyte, dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a climate adviser for the United Nations Secretary General said : “Summitry is theater, and it can be extremely impactful if there is a big centerpiece. That centerpiece is the U.S. plan.”

The US plan ?

By the time of the Summit, the United States will announce an ambitious 2030 emissions target.  And in his invitation, the President urged leaders to use the Summit as an opportunity to outline how their countries also will contribute to stronger climate ambition.

The focal point of the Leaders’ Summit on Climate will be the Biden administration’s plan to cut American emissions by 2030 (called Nationally Determined Contribution or NDC under the Paris Agreement), and how it can overcome fierce Republican opposition.

The ambitions and practicality of that target could determine the Biden administration’s success in convincing other nations to do more than they have already pledged.


Iconography : the White House inside, personal collection


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