Biden urges world leaders to tackle climate change
'All of us, particularly those who represent the world's largest economies, we have to step up,' says US president
US President Joe Biden urged world leaders Thursday to take immediate action to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the globe.
"The science is unmistakable, the science is undeniable. And, cost of inaction keeps mounting," he said, speaking at Leaders Summit on Climate via videoconference.
"The United States sets out on the road to cut greenhouses in half by the end of this decade. These steps will set America on a path of net-zero emission economy by no later than 2050," he said.
Noting that the US represents less than 15% of the world's emissions, Biden stressed no nation could solve this crisis on its own.
"All of us, particularly those who represent the world's largest economies, we have to step up. Those that take action and make bold investments in their people in clean energy future will win the good jobs of tomorrow and make their economies more resilient and competitive," he explained.
The president said the current decade is the most critical to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, adding the countries must limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
For the US, Biden said he plans to build a critical infrastructure to produce and deploy clean technology, calling it "a moral and economic imperative."
The White House earlier announced the Biden administration plans to cut greenhouse gas pollution in the US by 50% to 52% in 2030, from 2005 levels, which represents near-doubling of target US committed under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
'World is on red alert'
Vice President Kamala Harris said no nation is immune to climate change and added its prevention requires innovation, collaboration, use of renewable energy and new technologies.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said countries are feeling a sense of urgencies and they have already been experiencing the adverse effects of climate change from natural disasters, more pollution, higher health costs, diseases, food security, mass migration and conflicts.
"Mother Nature is now waiting. The past decade was the hottest on record. Dangerous greenhouse gases are at levels not seen in 3 million years. Global temperate has already risen 1.2 degrees Celsius, rising towards the threshold of catastrophe," UN Secretary-General António Guterres said.
He drew attention to rising sea levels and temperatures, tropical cyclones and wildfires, saying, "We need a green planet, but the world is on red alert.
We are on the verge of the abyss. We must make sure the next step is in the right direction. Leaders everywhere must take action."