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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Reactions trail President Biden’s speech at COP27

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, November 11, 2022, gave a speech at COP27 where he announced U.S. initiatives and global commitments, including commitments to supporting adaptation in specific Global South regions, including across Africa and the Pacific Islands.

Joe Biden
US president Joe Biden addresses the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Photo credit: AP

Biden also announced commitments to accelerating his Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, including a further $150 million.  He also spoke towards using public finance to unlock billions in private investment through the “Climate Finance +” initiative to support global south countries in issuing green bonds.

President Biden stated the U.S. would meet its climate commitments, reiterating the U.S. role as a climate leader and highlighting the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

In a response, May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, said: “In his speech, President Biden emphasised that all nations are interconnected. He’s right, and that’s why the U.S. must build on their domestic achievements with the Inflation Reduction Act by showing the necessary support needed globally, particularly for countries who’ve had the least to do with creating climate chaos.

“The U.S. is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses globally and bears the largest responsibility for accelerating climate chaos across the globe and causing irreparable harm to communities in the Global South. To be a true global climate leader, the U.S. needs to own their 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.

“Tackling the climate crisis requires much more than small investments in adaptation measures. At this critical juncture, where every tenth of a degree matters, there is no time left for incremental change. We need radical action now. The U.S. must lead on holding the fossil fuel industry accountable and shifting trillions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies into financing climate solutions.

“As a global organisation, 350.org works across regions from Africa to the Pacific Islands, South America to North America, and Europe. At COP27 and beyond, we will continue our role of ensuring that global climate action is equitable, that the largest emitters take responsibility, that fossil fuel companies are held accountable for the damage they’ve caused.”

Charity Migwi, Africa Regional Campaigner for 350.org: “As one of the world’s leading polluters, the pledges made by United States President Biden fall well short of the expectations of communities facing devastation from the impacts of the climate crisis. As the U.S. has been exercising delay and denial, communities in Africa have been bearing the brunt of worsening climate impacts without any compensation for the losses suffered.

“What’s even worse is that the country continues to channel substantial financing to fossil fuels. 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. This would send a strong signal to other industrialised nations to take urgent action.”

Joseph Sikulu, Pacific Managing Director for 350.org: “While the Pacific is heartened to hear that the U.S. is on track to reach their goals for the Paris Agreement by 2030, we need to see action. Small island states cannot afford to waiver on the commitment to 1.5 degrees of warming, and the U.S. is complicit in our devastation unless they phase out fossil fuels.

“This means redirecting the billions of dollars of fossil fuel subsidies into genuine climate finance. Not insurance schemes and not minor investments in climate adaptation, but finance that is sufficient and accessible to the communities that need it most.

“As a region experiencing the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we are disappointed in the glaring exclusion of loss and damage finance from President Biden’s statement. If the U.S. is truly a ‘climate leader’, they will phase out fossil fuels, redirect the money they give to dirty energy and support the establishment of an operational loss and damage finance facility at COP27.”

Jeff Ordower, North America Director at 350.org: “President Biden has made important strides with the passage of the IRA, and we look forward to working to ensure proper and equitable implementation in real climate solutions that phase out fossil fuels. In this pivotal moment for climate action for all communities, President Biden must listen to the demands of frontline and Indigenous leaders and climate activists and follow a bold course of executive actions to meet his own climate commitments. At COP27, Biden spoke a big game about duty and responsibility of global leadership on climate. That needs to start at home.

“The Biden administration must follow their own words and directly address the production, export, and burning of fossil fuels, a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions and local pollution. President Biden must further his climate leadership by declaring a climate emergency and blocking federal approval of all new fossil fuel projects that are threatening U.S. communities across the U.S. and contributing to climate chaos the world over.”

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