Biden again calls on world leaders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

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Last year, President Biden held two hopeful meetings with the leaders of the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases – but on Friday he returned to a virtual summit with little to show in terms of new US incentives for renewable energy.

Beaten politically by high gasoline prices and pressured to increase oil and gas production, Biden has nonetheless tried to convince countries to continue to pursue policies aimed at tackling climate change.

“We cannot, we cannot afford to let the critical goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius slip away from us,” the president told leaders of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate. climate. “Science tells us that the window for action is rapidly shrinking.”

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Senior Biden administration officials have said the president is “laser-focused on advancing an agenda and actions” that would bolster U.S. energy security and “bring together a broad coalition to take action that responds to the ’emergency of the moment’.

But the $550 billion package of tax incentives and other measures in the president’s Build Back Better proposal has stalled in Congress. And the Russian invasion of Ukraine has increased pressure to increase US production of natural gas for export and boost global crude oil supplies.

Biden highlighted several areas for action, such as building hydrogen hubs in the United States; a “green” maritime competition sponsored by Norway and the United States to decarbonize fuels by 2050; and a renewed call on world leaders to match the US goal of zero emissions for 50% of new cars.

He said that if shipping were a country, it would be the eighth largest emitter of methane in the world.

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The President noted that the United States, in its proposed infrastructure bill, would provide $21.5 billion of the $90 billion that the International Energy Agency said would be needed for infrastructure projects. demonstration of hydrogen during this decade. Hydrogen can be used as an energy storage device.

Biden also called on countries to crack down on the flaring of methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas. “We flare enough gas to offset almost all of the EU’s gas imports from Russia,” he said.

But the Environmental Defense Fund said in a new report that “oil company commitments to reduce flaring have not translated into a decrease in total gas flared. Instead, natural gas flaring increased slightly in 2021 compared to the previous year.

The group said flared gas could fetch around $40 billion at market prices. “Waste of this valuable product is harmful, especially at a time when countries are grappling with an energy crisis,” EDF said.

EDF’s report also warned that the oil and gas industry is not on schedule to meet the overall goal of achieving zero routine flaring by 2030. The report says flaring volumes are expected to fall by 19% per year until 2030 to reach zero routine flaring from 2030. all world oil production.

The largest emitter of methane in the world is China, accounting for around 30% of all emissions. Senior administration officials said White House climate adviser John F. Kerry had spoken to China negotiator Xie Jianhua “several times” over the past month.

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UN Secretary General António Guterres, who is attending the meeting, said fossil fuel companies had “exploited precisely the same outrageous tactics as Big Tobacco decades ago. Like tobacco interests, fossil fuel interests and their financial accomplices must not escape their responsibilities.