US President Joe Biden called on nations to work together on a move to renewable energy on the second and final day of a climate summit he convened to mobilize world commitment to curb global warming.
“Nations who work together to invest in a cleaner economy will reap the benefits for their people,” said the virtual summit’s Democratic president, who took office in January.
Since his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, withdrawn from the 2015 Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Biden convened the conference with hundreds of heads of state to announce the United States back at the climate leadership table.
On Thursday, Biden, who re-entered the United States into the 2015 deal, proposed a new US goal of reducing pollution by 50% to 52% by 2030, relative to 2005 levels. Japan and Canada have since increased their goals.
“The promises we made must be fulfilled,” Biden said. “Commitment without our participation is just a bunch of hot air,” says the author.
Biden said he was encouraged by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call for global cooperation on advanced carbon dioxide reduction technologies, and that the US looked forward to collaborating with Russia and other countries on the technology.
On Thursday, Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping spoke at the summit, but neither made any new promises to reduce pollution.
Bill Gates, a billionaire turned philanthropist, announced that he was working on an initiative dubbed Breakthrough Energy Catalyst with investors to raise funds from states, philanthropists, and businesses to make capital investments in renewable technologies.
“We will create new businesses and companies that provide people around the world with decent employment as we move to a sustainable economy,” said Gates, who has put $2 billion into high-tech power generation and storage.
To offset Republican fears that climate policy would delay progress, Biden has tried to connect attempts to combat climate change with opportunities to build jobs, claiming that taking action would be beneficial for the economy.