Climate leadership requires fossil fuel phase out and nature protection

Against a backdrop of Covid-19 and high geopolitical tensions, President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate starts tomorrow. The summit brings together representatives from the world’s major economies, including 17 countries which together represent 80 percent of global emissions, to discuss how to enhance ambition to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 oC.

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International:

“History has to be made at Biden’s Earth Day Summit. True climate leadership requires laws and regulations to phase out fossil fuels, end deforestation, and restore nature. Our survival depends on real climate action – voluntary net-zero targets and offsets are just delaying tactics.

“To get closer to the 1.5 pathway, significant political will and action are required. The world’s richest countries must do more than just halve their emissions by 2030, having profited from extractive and polluting industries leading to the climate crisis. It’s time for the wealthiest nations to repair the damage and show solidarity with vulnerable countries.”

International cooperation on climate change is needed and the recent joint statement by the US and China, and the UK’s new 2035 climate target, bring hope but it can’t end there.

Janet Redman, Director Climate Campaign, Greenpeace USA:

“To be a true climate leader, Biden has to show his commitment to addressing today’s interlocking public health, racial inequity and climate crises. That means slashing US carbon pollution by beginning the transition away from fossil fuels now, while ensuring no worker or community is left behind.

“Science and justice demand that we reduce emissions by 70% from 2005 levels by 2030 on the road to zero emissions by mid-century. The White House can get this done by removing government subsidies to fossil fuel companies, investing in an equitable and sustainable economic recovery, and stopping fishy carbon offset deals like the one Biden is considering with Brazil right now.”

China’s emerging economic recovery from COVID-19 is cause for concern for the climate. Coal plants are being built at a faster pace with steel and cement production at a historical high.

Li Shuo, Senior Climate & Energy Policy Officer for Greenpeace East Asia:

“China struck a cooperative tone with the US through their recent joint statement on the climate crisis, now Beijing needs to further strengthen its own ambition. It is in China’s economic and environmental interest to depart from coal, both domestically and in overseas investment, and take actions to peak emissions earlier. In alignment with the carbon neutrality goals of China, Japan and South Korea, more concrete actions from the three East Asian major economies will ultimately help contribute to the global low carbon transition.”

Silvia Pastorelli, Climate & Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace European Unit:

“The EU no longer has bragging rights at climate summits. Copying the language of climate marchers won’t make European governments global power brokers. Climate leadership means credible climate targets that are in line with science and the Paris Agreement. It means no more fossil fuel subsidies, no more offsets and no more false solutions. And it means a just transition that leaves no-one behind, based on proven solutions like renewables, energy efficiency, clean mobility and ecological farming.”

Ahead of the summit the UK announced a 78% emissions reduction target by 2035, including international aviation and shipping emissions.

Rebecca Newsom, Head of Politics Greenpeace UK said:

“When it comes to high level climate targets, it looks like Boris Johnson will make the boldest pledge of all. But, targets are much easier to set than they are to meet, so the hard work begins now. In order to actually deliver on this commitment, new measures to slash emissions from homes and transport should already be well underway. So unless the government’s policies and spending commitments urgently fall in line with its ambitions, there will still be awkward questions for Boris Johnson at the global climate talks in the Autumn.”

To protect the climate we need to enhance nature protection.

Fabiana Alves, Climate and Justice Coordinator, Greenpeace Brazil:

“President Biden must stop the deal with Bolsonaro. It’s impossible to protect the forest by giving funds to someone responsible for record levels of Amazon deforestation and human rights violations, and it also risks giving fossil fuel companies an avenue for ‘offsetting’ their pollution. The best way to protect the Amazon is to defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities, who are not being consulted and listened to by this government.”

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