US sets first 2030 climate goal as Canada and Japan increase targets


US President Joe Biden has unveiled a new 2030 climate target, entailing a 50-52% reduction in emissions against a 2050 baseline. Canada and Japan, meanwhile, have increased their 2030 climate targets. 

Earlier this year, Democratic representatives introduced a bill that will require the US to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 if passed.

While popular across the green economy, the bill, for many, was lacking in clarity to back up this long-term aim. A string of more than 300 businesses wrote to Biden earlier this month, calling for a 2030 goal that would at least see emissions halved. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2018 report on 1.5C notably outlined how halving global net emissions by 2030 would offer the best chance of net-zero by mid-century.

World Economic Forum managing director Dominic Waughray said: “President Biden’s Leaders’ Summit on Climate is unprecedented and ambitious national commitments will help the world tackle the climate crisis. The summit changes the dynamic for Earth Day.

Power Shift Africa’s director Mohamed Adow said: “After four years of ignorant and cowardly climate policy from the White House under Donald Trump, it’s great to see a President that is aware of the need for action and of America’s responsibility to show leadership on this issue.

“The plan laid out by President Biden is hugely welcome and shows the kind of ambition we need to see from rich, polluting nations.  But truth must be told. It still falls short of what is needed from the biggest historical emitter and wealthiest country to stabilise global heating to below 1.5C.

“Until now, the actions of all rich countries including those in Europe as well as Australia, Japan and Canada have been hugely underwhelming. This summit is a major turning point that now shifts attention towards the laggards and concrete near-term actions. They need to come back with much stronger pledges, including climate finance for poorer nations.”

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