Tuesday, 21 Mar 2023

Cop27: Biden says leaders can no longer plead ignorance over climate crisis

Cop27: Biden says leaders can no longer plead ignorance over climate crisis

Cop27: Biden says leaders can no longer plead ignorance over climate crisis

Joe Biden has implored countries to do more to tackle the climate emergency, telling the Cop27 summit that world leaders "can no longer plead ignorance" and that time to confront the crisis is running out.

Biden told a large crowd of delegates at the talks, held in Egypt, that the "science is devastatingly clear - we have to make progress by the end of this decade." The US president stated that America was taking action on cutting planet-heating emissions and that other major economies needed to "step up" to avoid a disastrous breach of 1.5C in global heating.

"Let's raise both our ambition and speed of our efforts," he said in his speech on Friday in Sharm el-Sheikh. "If we are going to win this fight, every major emitter needs to align with 1.5C. We can no longer plead ignorance of the consequences of our actions or continue to repeat our mistakes. Everyone has to keep accelerating progress throughout this decisive decade."

Biden, buoyed by better than expected midterm election results for Democrats this week, said that governments need to "put down significant markers of progress" in reducing emissions. Scientists have warned that the world is heading for disastrous levels of global heating, with emissions still not falling fast enough to avoid severe heatwaves, wildfires, droughts and other impacts of the climate crisis.

"It's been a difficult few years; the interconnected challenges we face can seem all-consuming," said Biden, who accused Vladimir Putin of using "energy as a weapon" in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, an action that has caused energy and food prices to soar globally. "Against this backdrop, it's more urgent than ever that we double down on our climate commitment."

Biden, who was briefly interrupted by a small band of whooping climate protesters, said the US was committed to helping developing countries hurt worst by climate impacts but did not mention providing payments via "loss and damage", the hot topic of Cop27 and the most pressing issue for vulnerable communities already suffering from worsening catastrophes.

The protesters were youth and Indigenous activists from the US, calling on Biden to stop pushing fossil fuel extraction. "The president, members of congress and the state department have come to this international forum on climate change proposing false solutions that will not get us to 1.5 degrees," said Big Wind, 29, member of the Northern Arapaho tribe in Wyoming.

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