Increased efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions announced on Thursday stand to bring the international community closer to its aim of reducing climate change.
However, the objective of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5°C, set under the 2016 Paris Agreement, remains a distant target that will require vast amounts of additional effort.
U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled a new national target for reducing emissions at his climate summit on Thursday. Biden, who has just brought the United States back into the Paris Agreement, from which Donald Trump had withdrawn it, announced a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the world’s biggest economy by 50% by the year 2030.
The previous U.S. target had been a 26% to 28% reduction by 2025.
Other countries, including Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom, also announced increased efforts to reduce pollutive emissions and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The European Union, for its part, has committed to cutting its emissions by “at least” 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
The new, “ambitious” target announced by President Biden is a “significant step forward” but is still less than the 57-63% reduction, compared to 2005, that the United States would need to make to be on track for the 1.5°C limitations, according to the Climate Action Tracker.
Moreover, certain G20 countries like Australia and Brazil are yet to announce more substantial commitments for 2030. India, for example, has only confirmed its renewable energy objectives.
China, the world’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, has committed to reducing its use of coal, a particularly pollutive energy source after it peaks in 2025.
The international community will meet in November in Glasgow, Scotland, for its 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) to the 1994 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC), postponed by a year due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
That meeting is seen once more as decisive, with States expected to announce higher nationally determined contributions to the global effort to reduce climate change.