United States, Canada Commit to Achieving Net Zero Emissions by 2050 | Climate change news

United States President Joe Biden said he and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to work to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

“We are launching a high-level ministerial conference on climate ambition and aligning our policies and targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2050,” Biden said in a speech Tuesday after a bilateral meeting with the Canadian leader.

U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry and his Canadian counterpart Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson will host the ministerial effort.

The partnership comes after Biden revoked a key permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported 830,000 barrels per day of carbon-intensive heavy crude from Alberta from Canada to Nebraska in the United States, on its first day in office last month – one amid a flurry of executive orders aimed at curbing climate change.

A US official said North American neighbors “will cooperate for policy alignment” and aim to announce new emissions reduction targets under the Paris climate agreement for the year 2030 of here April 22 – the day the United States hosts a summit of climate leaders.

The official told reporters that areas of policy alignment “of mutual interest” would include methane reduction in oil and gas operations, transportation and vehicles, and resilience to climate change.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Reuters news agency earlier this month that the United States wanted to increase imports of hydroelectric power. In another interview, Environment Minister Wilkinson said combining clean energy from Canada with wind, solar and geothermal power from the United States was a priority for the first talks between the two countries.

‘A current reality’

Meanwhile, in a speech to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, representatives of some of the world’s small island nations – some of the most vulnerable to rising seas caused by warming temperatures – stressed the need. urgent need for new tools to forecast and prepare for the climate. security threats. They also called for changes in international law to accommodate people displaced by climate change.

“Make no mistake, the existential threat of climate change to our own survival is not a future consideration, but a current reality,” Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said in a speech at the virtual event.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who hosted the pre-COP26 session of the UN climate talks scheduled for November in Glasgow, said climate change had become “a geopolitical issue as much as an environmental issue”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson watches video of environmental activist David Attenborough’s speech at a UN Security Council meeting on climate and security [Stefan Rousseau/Pool via Reuters]

Around the world, weather-related disasters now displace 16 million people a year and increase migration, water shortages and crop failures, also making vulnerable people prey to violent “extremists” and human traffickers. human beings, he said.

The effects of climate change – from rising sea levels to worsening forest fires, droughts, floods and storms – are undermining development in poor countries and will worsen without swift action to reduce global heating emissions, he and others said.

Security threat

The dangers are increasingly evident for rich and poor countries alike, they added, whether in the form of warmer weather, soaring insurance costs or more migrants crossing borders.

“It is absolutely clear that climate change is a threat to our collective security and the security of our nations,” Johnson said.

“Whether you like it or not, it’s a question of when, and not if, your country and your people will face the security impacts of climate change.”

Worldwide, weather disasters now displace 16 million people a year and fuel migration, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday. [File: Willy Kurniawan/Reuters]

As part of the UN climate talks and other groupings, countries have taken some steps to address growing risks, including creating new insurance pools for poor countries threatened by extreme weather conditions. .

As part of the Paris Agreement on climate change, richer countries have also pledged to raise $ 100 billion a year from 2020 to help poorer countries develop properly and adapt. more extreme weather conditions and rising seas – a goal that remains to be achieved.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) has been pushing for 30 years to find a formal way to address the inevitable “loss and damage” from climate change, including the potential loss of entire islands to the high seas.

A “Warsaw Mechanism” to deal with climate loss and damage has been created as part of the UN talks – but little help is offered besides support for insurance policies.

So far, representatives of the small island states said, international action has lagged behind, with Browne calling efforts “fragmented and frankly insufficient.”

Aubrey Webson, President of AOSIS and Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United Nations, said that the UN Security Council’s support for faster action on climate risks could pave the way for breakthroughs at COP26.

“What we should perhaps see is that the Security Council is using its muscles to move the COP forward,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview.

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