Alarming climate reports prior to Biden climate summit

US President Biden has announced that the United States will reduce fossil fuel emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 compared to 2005, as Biden did at the start of an online climate summit that he organised for today and tomorrow.

Forty Heads of State or Government are participating, including China, Russia, India and the EU. Biden hopes that other countries will follow its example and will also come up with further emission reductions.

The summit comes at a time when again the alarm clock sounds about the climate. For example, the European climate organisation Copernicus concludes today in the report European State of the Climate 2020 that the last six years worldwide are the six hottest years since the beginning of the measurements.

Earlier this week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that climate change is putting the world on the brink of collapse. According to him, there is no time to waste to achieve the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement. โ€œThis is the year of action,โ€ says Guterres, who responded to a report by the World Meteorological Organization. According to the WMO last year was one of the three warmest years ever. 2016 was the warmest, followed by 2019 and 2020.

Largest emitters

In the run-up to the summit, several countries have already tightened their climate targets. For example, England announced its intention to reduce emissions by three-quarters by 2030 and yesterday the European Union reached an agreement on the climate law.

The US and China are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Chinas President Xi has said that he wants to reduce the consumption of coal, starting in the period 2026-2030.

President Biden is committed to showing the world that America is once again fully participating in the fight against climate change. After President Trump withdrew his country from the Paris climate agreement, his successor Biden immediately reversed it when he took office.

Among the countries he has invited are seventeen countries that together account for about 80% of global emissions. There are also frontrunners in the fight against climate change, and countries that are most vulnerable to the consequences.

The Netherlands does not participate. However, the Netherlands has been invited to a so-called side-event on adaptation, or adaptation to climate change.

Milestone

The meeting should underline the urgency of the climate problem, but also the economic opportunities offered by the energy transition. Biden wants to put the emphasis on this.

Today and tomorrows climate summit must also become a milestone in the run-up to the global climate summit in Glasgow next autumn. Last year, that meeting didnt take place because of the global coronacrisis. Corona has reduced emissions slightly, but the urgency of the climate issue has not diminished.

In recent years, climate scientists have stressed the importance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, as it can counteract the most serious consequences.

Warm winter in Europe

The warming has continued in the meantime. The European organisation Copernicus noted earlier this year that 2020 was the warmest year ever in Europe. Especially the high temperatures in the winter were striking. At that time, the temperature was 3.4 degrees above the average from 1981-2010, which mainly affected snow and ice cover in North-East Europe.

In parts of the Arctic and Northern Siberia it was even 6 degrees above average. Moreover, there were not so few frost days in Europe before. There has also been a record number of hours of sunshine since the start of satellite measurements in 1983. โ€œTemperatures in Europe are increasing in all seasons,โ€ said Freja Vamborg of Copernicus.