A highlight of the numerous celebrations of the 2021 Climate Week / Earth Day around the world was the hosting of a “global summit” of leaders from 40 nations and sub-governments, the investment community, the corporate community, NGOs, and advocates, the E.U., multilateral organizations, indigenous communities, and others – hosted by the United States of America.
We could describe the enthusiastic presentations and panel discussions over the two days by global participants a kumbaya gathering to refresh and update the 2015 Paris Agreement (or Accord) moments as the world leaders then set out ambitious goals to limit global warming. The big news – the USA is back in the global effort to address climate change challenges.
President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were the primary hosts over the two days of digital meetings, along with former Secretary of State John Kerry (now the White House climate envoy), present Secretary of State Antony Blinken, cabinet officers, and others in the administration making presentations and leading discussions.
Sovereign leaders joined the two days of discussions to present the strategies and actions (current and planned) for their respective nations (including China, UK, Russia, France, Canada, Australia, India, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Marshall Islands, and others).
The measures sovereign governments (large and small!) are taking to address climate change challenges – with the foundation of the Paris Agreement of 2015 as guide – are sweeping; some initiatives are now in partnership with other nations (the USA and India, or EU nations and African nations, as examples).
We have included the Fact Sheet issued by the White House in our Top Stories for this week. “The USA is Back” on climate issues is the general messaging of the Biden-Harris Administration, with many specifics set out during the two-day conference. Some examples of the “whole of government” climate approaches in the United States -- and an ambitious agenda for helping developing nations around the world:
The United States will double the nation’s target for overall reduction of carbon emissions (NDC) by 50 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. This “underscores the commitment to lead a clean energy revolution”.
To assist other nations, a Global Climate Ambition Initiative was launched to support developing nations in establishing net-zero strategies, to be led by the US Department of State and USAID (the US Agency for International Development).
These efforts will need funding; the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) commits to achieving a net zero investment portfolio by 2040 with one-third or more of the new investments made having a “climate nexus” by FY 2023. The DFC will work with the Rockefeller Foundation to support distributed energy and other innovations offshore.
The USA and Canada are chairing “The Greening Government Initiative” to lead by example in helping developing nations implement their respective climate change plans to “increase resilience and mitigate emissions from their government operations and collaborating on common goals”. The North American partners will seek to develop net zero economies, using 100 “clean electricity” and zero emissions vehicle fleets (as examples of climate leadership in action).
President Biden announced an international climate finance plan, making use of his country’s multilateral and bilateral channels and institutions to help developing countries; this will include directing the flow of capital toward climate-aligned investments and away from high-carbon investments.
There is much more for you to digest in the sweeping range of current and planned initiatives in the White House Fact Sheet in the Top Stores. Considering the announcements from Washington DC in the context of the actions of other nations and organizations that we are sharing in the newsletter. We have news from the European Union, the Global Reporting Initiative, United Nations Global Compact, CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), and the International Integrated Reporting Council.
Important: We can all give a nod of thanks to the media who today are covering the many aspects of climate change challenges (and solutions) – including Forbes, Associated Press, CNN, The Guardian, and many others whose coverage of CC topics & issues we share with you each week. Bravo, editors and journalists, for keeping us informed of the progress made as well as the challenges we still face.
This is just the introduction of G&A's Sustainability Highlights newsletter this week. Click here to view the full issue.
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