During the virtual meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate on April 22, Biden also announced that Washington would contribute $1 billion to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund — the first U.S. payment into the pot of developing country climate finance since 2017.
The US-led Major Economies Forum includes more than 20 nations that account for around 80 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Administration officials said the meeting offered an opportunity for Biden to take the lead on climate action, ahead of November’s global climate talks in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Biden’s announcement coincided with the late April release of an International Energy Agency report, which outlines the steps needed to bring down global emissions in line with the Paris Agreement target of holding warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Biden’s remarks to the forum focused on the four “pillars” outlined in that report: driving down emissions in the power and transportation sectors; ending deforestation; tackling potent climate pollutants like methane; and accelerating carbon capture technologies.
‘’The Carbon Management Challenge announced by President Biden is a welcome initiative to support the rollout of carbon capture and storage and carbon dioxide removal technologies worldwide. These technologies will be needed to meet climate targets, especially in heavy industries such as cement and steel,” says Jonas Helseth, director of Bellona Europa.
“However, these announcements and commitments must be met with actionable targets and plans to implement projects. We need to get steel on the ground to deliver on these promises,” he adds.
Biden also announced plans to request $500 million over five years to contribute to the Amazon Fund, which works to combat deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, and related activities. A senior administration official told Reuters that Biden’s team would have to work with Congress to secure that funding.
Biden, who has made fighting climate change one of his top policy priorities, has set a goal of reducing U.S. emissions 50%-52% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.
Last month, his Environmental Protection Agency proposed sweeping emission cuts for new cars and trucks through 2032 in an effort to boost electric vehicles. Biden encouraged leaders from the Major Economies Forum to join a collective effort to spur zero-emission vehicles and to reduce emissions from the shipping and power industries.
But Biden’s announcements came just a day after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy launched an all-out assault on the heart of Biden’s domestic climate agenda — a sign of the divisions at home that continue to bedevil the United States’ efforts lead the world in combating the planet’s warming.
McCarthy has proposed legislation that would strip billions of dollars of domestic clean energy incentives in return for raising the US borrowing limits to avoid an economically crippling debt default. McCarthy’s negotiating tactics signal that Republicans are unlikely to back increased climate funding of any sort, especially given his party has historically opposed international climate spending.
Countries and entities that make up the Major Economies Forum include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, and Vietnam.