President Biden is meeting world leaders virtually on climate issues on Friday and is expected to launch several climate initiatives in the process.
The meeting, scheduled for Friday morning, will include 19 other countries, including China, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and South Korea, senior officials told reporters Thursday evening. They will also be joined by the European Union.
China will not be represented by leader Xi Jinping, but by the country’s counterpart to US climate envoy John Kerry, an official said.
Officials detailed announcements they would make, including a collective goal for countries to make 50% of new cars sold electric, a goal the United States has already set.
As of Thursday evening, it was unclear how many countries would join this initiative or any of the others announced.
The United States and the EU are expected to unveil an initiative to reduce releases of planet-warming methane from the oil and gas sector.
Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes 25 times more to climate change than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period, but also spends less time in the atmosphere.
The new initiative specifically aims to eliminate routine flaring, a process in which companies burn excess natural gas that is a byproduct of oil production by 2030.
Meanwhile, officials also said some countries will update their 2030 climate change commitments, though they did not specify which countries or how many.
Biden will also encourage other countries to collectively try to reach $90 billion in government investments in the development of climate-friendly technologies. According to a fact sheet, the U.S. Bipartisan Infrastructure Act already commits $21.5 billion to the effort.
In addition, the United States and Norway will launch an effort to encourage emissions reductions from the maritime sector by 2050.
Biden is also trying to get countries to raise $100 million for fertilizer research to help with both food security and agricultural emissions.
The countries joining Biden’s meeting are major economic powers that together account for 80% of the world’s gross domestic product, population and global warming emissions.
The meeting comes as the Biden administration seeks to reaffirm the United States as a global leader on climate change. Still, it’s unclear whether the United States will actually meet its climate goals, as Congress has yet to reach an agreement to pass Bidens’ climate and social spending package.
It also comes in the wake of the climate talks in Bonn, Germany. At the meeting, tensions erupted between rich and poor countries after the former would not agree to put offsetting the damage caused by historic emissions from rich countries on the agenda of this year’s global climate summit in Egypt.
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