Earth Day: Climate Summit between President Xi, Biden and world leaders

In the wake of Earth Day, China last year promised to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2060 and Biden has promised to put the United States on track to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2035 and to the economy by 2050.

In the last days of this week, US President Joe Biden will host a climate summit with the participation of 40 world leaders. He hopes to reach agreements with some of the countries that play a major role in greenhouse gas emissions in the wake of Earth Day. The virtual summit is being held April 23-22, and according to a new CBS poll, 46 per cent of Americans believe that climate change issues need to be addressed urgently.

The United States and China are the two countries with the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. On the eve of this two-day meeting, they have agreed on cooperation in the field of climate change.

Some media outlets, such as the Guardian, have explicitly stated that the Chinese president also attended the US-hosted climate summit. The meeting, convened by Biden, will be the first Beijing-Washington summit since the inauguration of the new US administration.

Climate Summit Decisions

President Biden hosts World Summit, launches an updated version of the plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and invited other countries to cooperate in combating the climate crisis in the wake of Earth Day. Prior to the summit, Biden climate’s representative John Kerry met with officials from various countries, including China, to seek their support.

The summit is an opportunity for the United States to rejoin international efforts to combat climate change following the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement under former President Donald Trump and the lifting of environmental regulations.

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The United States is the second country after China to play a major role in carbon dioxide pollution. The White House is expected to set new goals to reduce carbon dioxide pollution in the Paris climate agreement. The historic Paris Agreement has 200 member states. Biden is also expected to commit to helping poorer countries fight climate change.

The role of previous US governments in reducing pollution

Former US President Barack Obama’s administration aims to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 but Trump thwarted federal efforts to achieve that goal. Withdrew his country from the Paris climate agreement and adopted policies in the interests of fossil fuel producers.

Biden’s Climate Agenda

Biden has made the fight against climate change his top priority, parting ways with his predecessor, Donald Trump, who has pursued policies in line with the fossil fuel industry. Biden’s climate program includes a large package of infrastructure to invest in the clean energy sector as one of the country’s biggest targets for controlling greenhouse gas emissions.

Biden also promised to enact new regulations on fossil fuel producers to repeal Trump’s climate policy on issues such as clean climate and land conservation and wildlife conservation. The goal of reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent is still far below the pledged commitments of the United Kingdom and the European Union. Reduce emissions of environmental pollutants by 68% and 55% by 2030, respectively.

US-China climate cooperation in the shadow of competition between the two countries

The United States and China, the world’s two largest emitters of carbon dioxide, have agreed to work together on climate change. However, they remain competitors in business, human rights, intellectual property and technology.

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In a joint statement, Kerry, Biden’s representative on climate affairs and his Chinese counterpart, pledged to work with each other and other countries to combat the climate crisis as an urgent and serious need.

Kerry’s statement

The United States, China, and Europe, which together account for about half of all greenhouse gas emissions, must work together with other countries to reduce pollution. He further said: “I think this is a great economic opportunity, not just for America, but for people around the world”.

In the wake of Earth Day, China last year promised to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2060 and Biden has promised to put the United States on track to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2035 and to the economy by 2050.

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