US vows to cut emissions by at least 50% by 2030 ahead of climate summit

Tom Ambrose
·2-min read
<p>Joe Biden is hoping it will encourage China and other big polluters to fast-track their own efforts before the COP26 meeting</p> (AP)

Joe Biden is hoping it will encourage China and other big polluters to fast-track their own efforts before the COP26 meeting

(AP)

The US has pledged to cut carbon emissions at least 50 per cent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.

The new target will be unveiled at a virtual summit of 40 global leaders and marks a significant shift for the US, essentially doubling its previous promise.

President Joe Biden is hoping the ambitious plan will encourage China and other big polluters to fast-track their own efforts before the COP26 meeting in Glasgow later this year.

The pledge to cut fossil fuel emissions up to 52 per cent by 2030 comes after four years of withdrawal under the disgraced former US president Donald Trump.

Japan, a heavy user of coal, announced its own new 46 per cent emissions reduction target today before the summit opened.

The new urgency comes as scientists say that climate change caused by coal plants, car engines and other fossil fuel use is already worsening droughts, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters.

“The United States is not waiting, the costs of delay are too great, and our nation is resolved to act now," the Biden administration said in a statement.

“Climate change poses an existential threat, but responding to this threat offers an opportunity to support good-paying, union jobs, strengthen America's working communities, protect public health, and advance environmental justice.”

Mr Biden and vice-president Kamala Harris were scheduled to open the Earth Day summit from the White House East Room before world leaders.

The president also planned to join a second session of the livestreamed summit later in the morning on financing poorer countries' efforts to remake and protect their economies against global warming.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the summit will play out as a climate telethon-style livestream, limiting opportunities for spontaneous interaction and negotiation.

Meanwhile, the UK announced a “world-leading” target for the UK to cut emissions by 78 per cent on 1990 levels by 2035 earlier this week.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

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