How is the US climate protection policy

USA are back on climate protection

Power Plant near Page, Arizona / Ralf Broskvar, stock.adobe.com

Washington - With a new climate protection target for 2030 and an international summit, the USA has reported back on the global stage in the fight against global warming. At an online meeting with 40 heads of state and government in the White House, US President Joe Biden called for quick action to contain the climate crisis.

He himself announced new steps: The US wants to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least half compared to 2005 by the end of the decade. The exact goal is to reduce emissions at the macroeconomic level by 50 to 52 percent. Amid great international tension, Biden also brought the heads of government of Russia and China to the table.

With the new climate target, the USA is fulfilling a requirement of the Paris climate treaty, in which Biden had returned the country on the first day in office. His predecessor Donald Trump had left the agreement. It stipulates that the signatory states improve their climate targets every five years. At the World Climate Conference in Glasgow in November, all partners should officially do this.

The two-day online climate summit hosted by Biden is seen as an important preparation for Glasgow. Experts agree that a lot more needs to be done around the world by 2030 if global warming, like
In 2015, almost 200 countries agreed in Paris to stay well below two degrees. The earth has already heated up by around 1.2 degrees compared to pre-industrial times.

Biden called for a joint effort and sees the largest economies in particular as an obligation. “The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. The cost of doing nothing is getting higher, ”he warned. Biden appealed to the industrialized countries to mobilize money for climate protection and announced more US aid for developing countries.

UN Secretary General António Guterres called for a global coalition for greenhouse gas neutrality. "Every country, every region, every city, every company and every industry" must take part. Taxes on CO2 emissions are needed, coal and oil should no longer be subsidized, and coal burning in industrialized countries should end by 2030. "We see constantly rising sea levels, scorching temperatures, devastating tropical cyclones and epic forest fires," warned Guterres. "We stand on the edge of the abyss."

In view of the dramatic situation, Biden also brought the key players Russia and China to the summit table - despite great tensions with both countries with a view to various other issues.

China's head of state Xi Jinping pledged to work with the international community to meet the commitments under the Paris Agreement. Xi promised a reduction in his country's coal consumption from 2025 and strict control of coal-fired power plants.

China is the most populous country on earth as well as the largest consumer of coal and carbon dioxide producer - thus it plays a central role in the fight against global warming like the USA. While the government is repeatedly reaffirming the climate goals, critics criticize a further expansion of coal energy at the local level and an increase in coal production.

Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin also showed willingness to cooperate at the summit. In the fight against global warming, the entire world community must combine its efforts. The discussion at the summit shows "how deeply we all share the concern about climate change". Russia is ready to offer “a whole range” of joint climate projects, Putin said. The largest country in the world in terms of area is particularly affected by the rise in temperature. In Siberia, the permafrost is thawing, which is why scientists are warning against the release of large amounts of carbon.

Other states also made commitments: Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that his country would reduce emissions by 46 percent by the fiscal year 2030/2031 compared to the fiscal year 2013. So far, a reduction of only 26 percent was planned. Canada, in turn, wants to cut emissions by 40 to 45 percent between 2005 and 2030, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised.

The Brazilian head of state, Jair Bolsonaro, who has come under international pressure, promised measures to preserve the Amazon region. Brazil will end illegal logging by 2030. That would cut its emissions by 50 percent by that date.

On the day before the climate summit, the European Union had officially committed itself to reducing greenhouse gases by at least 55 percent by 2030 and an economy without new climate burdens by 2050. The reference year here is 1990. The different starting points - 1990 and 2005 - make the goals difficult to compare. According to the EU reading, a US target of minus 50 percent compared to 2005 corresponds to a reduction of 43 percent compared to 1990.

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) promised that Germany would do its part to achieve the EU target. She welcomed the US's new climate target. This is a clear commitment in the fight against global warming and an important signal to the global community.

Beyond the bare numbers, however, it is about the political signal: With the summit, Biden not only wants to underline the urgency of climate protection - but also that the USA is back at the international negotiating table after four years of Trump.

He wants to make the USA a pioneer in climate protection again, has declared the fight against global warming a priority and advertises - above all as an embassy at home - with the economic opportunities of climate protection. The energy transition, the expansion of electromobility and infrastructure measures could bring millions of well-paid jobs.

On the occasion of the US climate summit, the activists of Fridays for Future are calling for global protests today - including in Germany. Under the motto “No more empty promises”, they are calling for more commitment to climate protection. © dpa / aerzteblatt.de