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Biden attempts to reassure leaders of U.S commitment to averting “climate hell”

Biden speaking at COP27
Pacific climate activists call for investments for damage to vulnerable nations

Sharm El-Sheikh, EGYPT — The United States has reassured Pacific and world leaders who are fighting for a 1.5 to Stay Alive outcome at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, and of its commitment and renewed leadership to avert “climate hell.”

SPREP reported U.S. President Joe Biden, highlighted his nation’s efforts to reduce emissions, advance the global climate fight and help the most vulnerable build resilience to climate impacts, during a special ticket only session at Plenary Nefertiti at the Sharm El-Sheikh International Congress Centre on Friday.

“We’re not ignoring the harbingers that are already here. It’s true so many disasters — the climate crisis is hitting hardest those countries and communities that have the fewest resources to respond and to recover,” he said. 

He said the United States sees their mission to avert climate catastrophe and seize a new clean energy economy not only as an imperative for our present and future, but through the eyes of history.

“The climate crisis is about human security, economic security, environmental security, national security, and the very life of the planet,” he said. “From my first days in office, my administration has led with a bold agenda to address the climate crisis and increase energy security at home and around the world. We immediately rejoined the Paris Agreement.  I apologize we ever pulled out of the agreement.”

To prove its commitment to the cause, President Biden announced the following initiatives:

Bolstering Global Climate Resilience – including doubling the U.S. pledge to the Adaptation Fund to $100 million and announcing over $150 million in new support to accelerate the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) efforts across Africa.  These build on the over $20 million that President Biden has announced this year to accelerate PREPARE’s work in Small Island Developing States.

Accelerating Global Climate Action – including launching a new initiative to support Egypt in deploying 10 GW of new wind and solar energy while decommissioning five GW of inefficient natural gas generation, strengthening proposed domestic methane regulations in the oil and gas sector that would reduce U.S. methane from covered sources by 87 percent below 2005 levels as well as other domestic and international action to tackle methane emissions and advance the Global Methane Pledge, and announcing new actions that would make the United States the first national government to require major suppliers to set Paris Agreement-aligned emissions reduction goals – leveraging the Federal Government’s over $630 billion in annual purchasing power.

Catalyzing Investment at The Scale Required to Tackle the Climate Crisis – including launching new and innovative approaches that strategically use public finance to unlock billions in private investment, such as the “Climate Finance +” initiative that will support developing countries in issuing green bonds; launching the Sustainable Banking Alliance to deepen developing countries’ sustainable financial markets; and making strategic investments that help to mobilize billions in private finance and facilitate the export of U.S. clean technologies.

Engaging All of Society in Tackling the Climate Crisis – including launching a Climate Gender Equity Fund, an Indigenous Peoples Finance Access Facility, and new exchanges to empower youth across the world to be leaders on resilience and clean energy in their communities.

 “The sum total of the actions my administration is taking puts the United States on track to achieve our Paris Agreement goal of reducing emissions 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030,” Biden said.

“If we are to win this fight, we can no longer plead ignorance to consequence of actions and repeat our mistakes. If we can accelerate actions on these game-changers, we can reach our goal. But to permanently bend emissions curve, every nation must step up. The US has acted, everyone has to act, it’s a duty and responsibility of global leadership.”

Among the audience at the packed audience were Pacific leaders and delegates who joined more than 55,000 registered COP27 participants some of whom called out Biden’s claims that the U.S. is “acting”. executive director May Boeve said to be a true global climate leader, the U.S. needs to own responsibility and pay up what is owed for adaptation, stop funding fossil fuel projects and commit to real and significant investments in loss and damage in support of the most vulnerable nations.

Africa Regional Campaigner for Charity Migwi added as one of the world's leading polluters, the pledges made by the U.S. fall well short of the expectations of communities facing devastation from the impacts of the climate crisis.

She said real climate action from a "climate leader" would entail phasing out fossil fuels, providing much needed loss and damage finance and supporting the just transition to renewable energy in Africa.

Meanwhile, hundreds of climate change activists across the Pacific and Egypt have taken to the streets, calling for real action by world leaders at COP27.

From the island of Rabi in Fiji, to Melbourne in Australia, and to the Blue Zone in COP27, Sharm El Sheikh — the resounding message from the Pacific is that "we are not drowning, we are fighting".