President Joe Biden spoke from the White House at his “Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate” Thursday, giving opening remarks to kick off the virtual meetings on the environment between world leaders.
In his remarks, notably given on Earth Day, Biden made a pledge that the United States would have a goal of cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.
“The United States sets out on the road to cut greenhouse gases in half — in half — by the end of this decade,” Biden said. “That’s where we’re headed as a nation and that’s what we can do if we take action to build an economy that’s not only more prosperous but healthier, fairer, and cleaner for the entire planet.
“You know, these steps will set America on a path of net-zero emissions economy by no later than 2050, but the truth is America represents less than 50% of the world’s emissions,” he said.
The fact sheet on Biden’s pledge released by the administration claims:
Today, President Biden will announce a new target for the United States to achieve a 50-52 percent reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution in 2030 – building on progress to-date and by positioning American workers and industry to tackle the climate crisis.
Speaking to the 40 world leaders set to attend the 2-day virtual summit, Biden said, “No nation can solve this crisis on our own, as I know you all fully understand. All of us, all of us and particularly those of us who represent the world’s largest economies, we have to step up…Those that do take action and make bold investments in their people in clean energy future, will win the good jobs of tomorrow and make their economies more resilient and more competitive.”
“So let’s run that race, win more, win a more sustainable future than we have now,” he added. “Overcome the existential crisis of our time. You know just how critically important that is because 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 continued, “We must try to keep the earth’s temperature to an increase of 1.5 degrees celsius,” adding “the world beyond 1.5 degrees means more frequent and intense fires, floods, droughts, heatwaves, and hurricanes tearing through communities, ripping away lives and livelihoods.”
Biden began his remarks with comments about the importance of infrastructure as he and Vice President Kamala Harris have been promoting the administration’s massive infrastructure package this week.
Biden said, “when people talk about climate, I think ‘jobs,’” insisting that within the climate response lies the possibility to create jobs. Biden said that he proposed investment in infrastructure and innovation in order “to tap the economic opportunity that climate change presents our workers and our communities.” He went on to say that he has a vision of creating middle-class jobs responding to climate change efforts for union workers.
Democrats have recently sought to expand the meaning of the term “infrastructure” in order to push through other legislative priorities in the massive infrastructure spending package.
Biden thanked the members of the summit and said, “This is a moral imperative. An economic imperative. A moment of peril but also a moment of extraordinary possibilities. Time is short, but I believe we can do this. And I believe that we will do this.”
In closing, he said, “We really have no choice. We have to get this done.”