Summit shows Biden's big vision on fighting climate change

Summit shows Biden's big vision on fighting climate change


WASHINGTON (AP) — What did the world learn at Joe Biden's global summit about his vision of the battle to save the world’s climate?

For two days, Biden and his team of climate experts pressed his case that tackling global warming not only can avert an existential threat, but also benefit the U.S. economy — and the world’s as well.

The virtual summit, based at the White House and featuring more than 40 world leaders whose views were beamed to a global online audience, offered fresh details on how the U.S. might hope to supercharge its efforts on climate while leveraging international action to spur new technologies to help save the planet.

Biden opened the conference by announcing a goal to cut up to 52% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 — double the target set by President Barack Obama in the 2015 Paris climate accord. The 2030 goal vaults the U.S. into the top tier of countries on climate ambition.

“This goal is eyebrow-raising, but it has to be," said Marshall Shepherd, a climate expert at the University of Georgia. “To move the needle on the climate crisis, we need bold actions like this rather than individual or incremental actions only.”

While new targets from the U.S. and others got mostly positive reviews, they still fall a bit short of what some scientists say is necessary to avoid a potentially disastrous 1.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures.

Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics, a climate science think tank in Berlin, said his team's calculations showed the U.S. needs to reduce emissions 57% by 2030 to stay on a 1.5 degree Celsius pathway. He calls the new target “really a major improvement,” but also "not quite enough.”

Still, the U.S. goal is ambitious, and reflects lessons learned, not only by Biden — Obama's vice president — but by his team of...

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