Comment on US Leaders Summit on Climate

US President Joe Biden to host virtual Leaders Summit on Climate change on April 22 and 23

By George Smeeton

info@eciu.net

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At a recent media briefing ahead of US-hosted Leaders Summit on Climate Change, attendees heard from panellists on the importance of the event in maintaining momentum ahead of this year’s climate conference in Glasgow (COP26):

Amber Rudd,former UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and UK lead at COP21, said: “It is remarkable just how far we have come since Paris; it would have been difficult to imagine, in 2015, just how far. Global commitment to climate action is strong and growing, and we must bank that.

“But it is critical now that we press on urgently. That is the job of the UK COP26 presidency, working with the US and other leaders – to build momentum through the US summit and G7 meetings, to Glasgow and beyond, to achieve the Paris goal of keeping warming to 1.5°C.”

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Lead Climate & Energy said: “The Leaders’ Summit on Climate, being hosted next week by President Biden, must unlock the political will needed to ensure a successful outcome at COP26.

“We are running out of time. The overriding quest by leaders must be to catalyse efforts that keep the 1.5°C goal within reach. They must commit to tangible actions that spur the transformational change needed to halve global emissions by 2030.

“This won’t be possible if we don’t have the finance necessary to implement these plans. The world’s richest countries - who represent 75% of global emissions - must do their fair share.

“The commitments made by cities, business and other sub-national organizations must also be reflected in national climate plans. Very specifically, leaders must include concrete actions to scale up nature-based solutions, phase out coal and harmful subsidies, starting with fossil fuel subsidies.

“Finally, the leadership of the UK COP26 presidency will be essential to ensuring political will unlocks ambitious action. To do that, the host country must show the way both by their words and by their actions at home.”

Nisha Krishnan, Senior Finance Track Associate, Global Commission on Adaptation, World Resources Institute said: “We are quite behind the $100bn a year goal set in 2009. We’re at a critical point with an urgent need for renewed leadership in the climate finance debates. The current system has only delivered a small fraction of this climate finance for small island states and the least developed countries – those who are least responsible for contributing to climate change who are facing the brunt of the impacts.

“Without transparent and credible commitments to increase public climate finance, signaled as early as possible this year, there will be an uphill struggle to build trust with developing countries that they’re being heard. There’s a lot to be done for there to be actual progress at COP this year – but also to set stage for next 5-10 years – this is a once in a generation opportunity to reset economic systems that have served us so far and get onto a more sustainable pathway.”

Pete Ogden, Vice-President for Energy, Climate and the Environment at the United Nations Foundation said: “It’s fair to say that, for the United States, the US climate leaders’ summit is probably the most anticipated global climate moment since the Paris Agreement. That’s not just the exhilaration of going from a President and an administration that was pulling the US out of Paris to a President who campaigned and won on by far the most ambitious climate agenda in US history. But also that we are still in the first 100 days and all indications are that the Biden administration is firmly committed to delivering.

“This summit is not an end-point, but it is a very important opportunity for re-alignment and to make some real progress – with the US and their NDC being a part of that, moving onward from there for the rest of the year to COP.”