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27 April 2021

Biden climate summit sees pledges from world nations

In his first step towards reversing the climate agenda set by his predecessor, US President Joe Biden hosted a climate summit that brought together leaders from 40 countries to consider the efforts necessary to reach the goal of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 Celsius above preindustrial levels. The current commitments nations have laid out in the Paris Agreement would keep the rise in temperature below 3.0 degrees, but further action is needed to reach the ultimate goal necessary to limit catastrophic damage laid out by climate scientists.

The summit saw President Biden bring the US back into the Paris Agreement, committing to reducing emissions by 50-52% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. China’s President Xi Jinping announced a pledge to limit the use of coal over the next five years and reduce emissions from the use of coal over the next give, signaling a commitment to removing coal from its energy and heating production. Meanwhile, efforts like the LEAF coalition, announced collectively by the US, UK, and Norwegian governments together with the support of nine leading companies including Airbnb, Amazon, and Unilever signaled a rising collaboration between government and business in tackling the challenges posed by climate change.

While these new commitments and efforts by businesses are moves in the right direction, most analysts were underwhelmed by the achievements and shifted increased attention to the COP26 to be held this November in Glasgow.

Read analysis of the climate summit by the Environmental Defense Fund and key takeaways from researchers at the University of Melbourne