Biden calls on world leaders to cut methane in fight against climate

US President Joe Biden on Friday urged world leaders to join the United States and the European Union in pledging to cut methane emissions, hoping to build momentum before a international climate change summit next month.

Biden made the remarks during a virtual meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF), following an Earth Day meeting he hosted in April to unveil new U.S. targets for reducing gas emissions at greenhouse effect and urge other countries to do more to reduce theirs.

The UK has answered the call, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging to be among the first signatories of the Global Methane Pledge to reduce harmful gas emissions.

Argentina, Indonesia, Italy and Mexico have also joined the alliance, while Ghana and Iraq have shown interest, according to a summary of the White House meeting, which noted that these countries represent six of the top 15 emitters of methane in the world.

During the meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called on forum members in a video message to achieve “ambitious goals” to create a “global tide” to tackle climate change issues, according to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The press release did not mention whether Japan supported the Global Methane Pledge.

In April, Suga announced that Japan, the world’s fifth-largest emitter, will aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46% from fiscal 2013 levels by 2030, a significant increase from its previous commitment of a reduction of 26%.

Tackling climate change is one of Biden’s top national and international priorities, and the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12 is seen as a critical time for the world to engage. more to be done to stop rising temperatures.

The United Nations said on Thursday that the pace of climate change has not been slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic and that the world is losing its battle to cut emissions enough to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above. above pre-industrial levels. Scientists say this is the bare minimum to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

Biden on Friday called on other countries to join a pact between the United States and the EU aimed at reducing global methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.

“This will not only rapidly reduce the rate of global warming, but… it will also produce a very valuable secondary benefit like improved public health and agricultural production,” Biden told executives.

“We believe the collective goal is both ambitious and realistic, and we urge you to join us in announcing this commitment at COP26,” said Biden.

Globally, methane emissions are responsible for about 30% of global warming since the pre-industrial era, according to the United Nations. A recent report by United Nations climatologists said that reducing methane emissions is the fastest way to slow global warming.

After pledging the UK’s commitment to the goal, Johnson urged other countries to make good use of preparations for the next climate summit.

“In the next 1,000 hours from now until everyone gets to COP26, we need to do the work that will allow us to come to Glasgow with the ambitious NDCs – Nationally Determined Contributions – and strong commitments on coal, cars and trees, ”Johnson said, stressing the importance of raising funds to boost compliance by poorer countries.

“We need to take seriously filling the $ 100 billion pot that the developing world needs to do its part.”

Leaders from Argentina, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, Great Britain and the European Union participated in the MEF, as well as United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, said the White House.

Biden also asked Special Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry to chair a ministerial session immediately afterwards with China, Germany, India and Russia, according to a White House reading of the meeting.

Biden said he wants to use the MEF to complement other climate change forums and that his team, including Kerry, is working to push countries to set ambitious targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse.

“Whatever commitments we make at COP26, we must all resolve together in Glasgow to continue to strengthen our ambition and our actions…

Leaders and activists have warned of potentially dire consequences.

“Under current policies, we will reach nearly 3 degrees of global warming by the end of the century,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said, according to statements released by his office. “The consequences of such an increase in global temperatures would be catastrophic.”

Biden announced in April a new target to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. Biden has repeatedly highlighted climate change in recent weeks. following damage from devastating floods and wildfires in the United States.

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