UN applauds US President’s pledge to cut in half country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

Photo courtesy of UN /Evan Schneider
Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the Leaders Summit on Climate hosted by US President Joe Biden.

NEW YORK, April 24 – United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has applauded US President Joe Biden’s pledge to cut his country’s greenhouse gas emissions 50 to 52 percent below [2005] levels by 2030.

The US president made the pledge during the two-day Leaders Summit on Climate he hosted on Thursday and Friday, according to a statement from UN.

In his introductory remarks, President Biden announced the country would slash emissions in half, by 2030.  He spoke of the “extraordinary job creation and economic opportunity” that climate response provides, proposing investments in sectors such as energy, transportation, construction and farming. 

President Biden acknowledged that no nation can solve the climate emergency alone, and he called for leaders of the world’s largest economies to “step up” in the race to a sustainable future. 

“Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade.  This is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” he said. 

In his address at the meet, Guterres called on for a global coalition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and for countries to ramp up their commitments under the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change.  

The 2015 treaty aims to limit global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and requires governments to commit to increasingly ambitious climate action through plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). 

“All countries – starting with major emitters – should submit new and more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions for mitigation, adaptation and finance, laying out actions and policies for the next 10 years aligned with a 2050 net-zero pathway”, he said. 

These commitments also must be translated into “concrete, immediate action”, he added, as it is estimated that less than a quarter of pandemic recovery spending will go towards mitigating emissions, reducing air pollution or strengthening natural capital.  

The UN chief appealed for leaders to “put a price on carbon” through taxation.  He called for ending subsidies for fossil fuels and instead, ramping up investment in renewable energy and green infrastructure.  

“Stop the financing of coal and the building of new coal power plants. Phase out coal by 2030 in the wealthiest countries, and by 2040 everywhere else.  Ensure a just transition for affected people and communities”, he said.