President Joe Biden urged the international community to band together to tackle climate change in his speech during a virtual climate summit at the White House.
“No nation can solve this crisis on our own,” Biden said. “All of us, particularly those of us who represent the world’s largest economies, we have to step up.”
“This is a moral imperative, an economic imperative. A moment of peril but also a moment of extraordinary possibilities,” Biden continued. “Time is short but I believe we can do this and I believe that we will do this. We really have no choice, we have to get this done.”
Biden also explained how addressing the climate crisis could benefit respective economies, a valuable point at a time when many countries are wary of financial risks.
“When people talk about climate, I think jobs. Within our climate response lies an extraordinary engine of job creation and economic opportunity, ready to be fired up,” he said. “That’s why I’ve proposed a huge investment in American infrastructure and American innovation.”
Vice President Kamala Harris also stressed the importance of collective action.
“As a global community, it is imperative that we act quickly and together to confront this crisis. And this will require innovation and collaboration all around the world,” Harris said. The vice president also emphasized that climate change most adversely impacts communities who are disadvantaged by wealth and gender inequality, underscoring the Biden administration’s focus on equity in addressing issues not limited to climate change. We must recognize the importance of justice in what we do.”
Among Biden’s key announcements during the summit: That the United States would aim to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade.
In an interview with NPR ahead of the summit, Gina McCarthy, Biden’s national climate adviser, said the goal is a realistic one.
“Many would think that that’s not doable. But I would argue that there’s opportunities for us to be able to be very aggressive in what it is going to take for that opportunity,” she said. “This is not a challenge that we should shy away from.”
McCarthy noted that Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan would pivot the American economy in the necessary direction given that it includes many elements that not only overhaul and improve national infrastructure but also make it more efficient.
“We are talking about trains. We are talking about ships. We are talking about an opportunity to advance our transportation sector by investing in electric vehicles and battery manufacturing here in the United States, both for vehicles, but also for battery storage opportunities. We’re talking about building a new resilient grid.”