Biden urges world leaders to act on climate change: 'Decade of transformative action'


President Biden warned world leaders on Tuesday that this decade is critical to confronting the climate crisis, using a speech at the United Nations climate summit to urge nations to act.

Speaking at the summit in Glasgow, Scotland, known as COP26, Mr. Biden also laid out the U.S. strategy to reach its climate goals. The president pledged to cut U.S. carbon emissions in half by 2030 and to achieve a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

“This is the challenge of our collective lifetimes,” Mr. Biden said. “The existential threat is a threat to human existence as we know it and every day we delay, the cost of inaction increases. So let this be the moment that we answer history’s call here in Glasgow. Let this be the start of a decade of transformative action.”

Mr. Biden underscored the urgency for action, saying the world is at “an inflection point” when it comes to combating climate change.

“The science is clear. We only have a brief window before us to raise our ambitions and to meet the task that’s rapidly narrowing,” he said. “This is a decisive decade in which we have an opportunity to prove ourselves.”

Mr. Biden pledged that the U.S. would meet its climate goals, despite his trouble getting his fellow Democrats to go along with some of the proposals detailed in his massive climate and social spending bill.

The roughly $1.75 trillion proposal includes $900 billion in spending to combat climate change.

However, moderate Democrats have not agreed to the package’s price tag and it may be scaled back even further in the coming days.

Mr. Biden has already pared down the measure, which initially cost $3.5 trillion, by cutting a key climate initiative. The president dropped the Clean Energy Performance Program, which would pay electric companies that switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and impose fines on those that don’t.

Still, Mr. Biden on Monday touted his spending programs as critical to combating climate change and boosting the U.S. economy. He said his proposals will create good-paying union jobs.

The president also highlighted a new program to help developing countries adapt to climate change by providing $3 billion in financing per year by fiscal year 2024. The program was unveiled by the White House on Monday morning.

“We have an obligation to help,” he said.

The COP26 summit features several world leaders speaking with each other about taking bigger steps to cut emissions and reduce carbon footprints. Over the next two weeks, more than 10 Cabinet secretaries and 50 members of Congress will attend the event.

Administration officials say the initiatives are being significantly hampered by the refusal of China and Russia, two of the world’s biggest polluters, to participate.

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