In an address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, 21 September, United States President Joe Biden and China President Xi Jinping made separate commitments to tackle climate change, a global issue that UN Secretary General António Guterres calls an existential struggle.
US to Help Poorer Countries in Tackling 'Borderless Climate Crisis'
President Biden pledged to increase financial aid to poor countries to $11.4 billion so that they could shift to clean energy and cope with floods and other consequences of climate change.
Reminding the assembly about the “widespread death and devastation” brought about by the “borderless climate crisis”, Biden warned that the world is “approaching the point of no return in a literal sense”, The Guardian reported.
China to Not Build New Coal-Fired Power Projects Abroad
On the other hand, Xi Jinping surprised observers by promising in a pre-recorded video message that the People’s Republic of China shall “step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad.”
China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.
The President of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Alok Sharma, welcomed Jinping’s commitment, while the US Envoy for Climate John Kerry said in a statement that he was absolutely delighted about China’s decision.
However, climate campaigners like Greta Thunberg were not too impressed by the commitments of the world’s largest and second largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Thunberg in a tweet dismissed these promises as “fancy speeches.”
Richer nations are yet to abide by their promise of contributing $100 billion dollars in climate aid to developing countries, providing only $79.6 billion in 2019, Reuters reported.
(With inputs from Reuters and The Guardian)