The United States has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 as part of its return to the Paris climate agreement, President Joe Biden announced on Thursday morning at the virtual climate summit.
Biden made the announcement at the two-day virtual climate summit, which was attended by dozens of world leaders. The President re-joined the climate pact in February, reversing former President Donald Trump’s decision for the U.S. to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate agreement.
“These steps will set America on a path of net zero emissions economy by no later than 2050,” Biden said in remarks from the White House. “But the truth is, America represents less than 50 percent of the world’s emissions. No nation can solve this crisis on our own, as I know you all fully understand.”
The Biden administration wants to put U.S. on track to meet targets that scientists say are needed to prevent worst effects of global warming. The administration has been under pressure from environmental groups and climate scientists to commit to an emissions cut of at least 50 percent.
“This is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” Biden said. “We can’t resign ourselves to that future. We have to take action on this, and this summit is our first step on the road we’ll travel together.”
China’s President Xi Jinping spoke at the summit and said his country aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Meanwhile, other countries are looking to reduce emissions at a much faster rate.
“We need to move more quickly to implement commitments for 2030,” France President Emmanuel Macron said. “Basically, 2030 is the new 2050.”
Many world leaders praised the U.S. for rejoining the Paris Agreement, while several noted the difference in leadership between Biden and Trump.
“I’m delighted to see that the United States is back to work together with us in climate politics, because there can be no doubt about the world needing your contribution,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.