What Biden will announce at COP26 to fight climate change

It will be another busy time for the American leader after spending the weekend in Rome, meeting with Pope Francis, giving him a rare coin on Friday before attending the G20 summit on Saturday and Sunday.

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, on Monday, to participate in the World Leaders Summit at the start of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

It will be another busy time for the American leader after spending the weekend in Rome, Italy, meeting with Pope Francis, giving him a rare coin on Friday, before attending the G20 summit on Saturday and Sunday.

Biden traveled to Edinburgh on Air Force One with U.S. Special Envoy on climate John Kerry and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken after attending Mass at Villa Taverna in Rome, Italy, in observance of All Saints Day.

Biden was received by Philip Reeker, Chargé d’affaires, Embassy of the United States to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Councilor Frank Ross, Right Honorable Lord Provost and Lord Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh, and Mr. Nicholas Jarrold, Special Representative of the Foreign Secretary.

US President Joe Biden attends the G20 of World Leaders Summit in Rome, Italy, on Sunday, October 31, 2021. Photo: White House 

In the United Kingdom on Monday, Mr. Biden will participate in a greet with Boris Johnson, M.P., Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, while in the afternoon, he will attend the COP26 Opening Session at the Scottish Event Campus.

There, President Biden will announce series of actions his administration is taking to fight climate change, a crisis he has described as an existential threat.

The conference comes just about ten months since Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement, restored U.S. leadership on the world stage, and reestablished U.S. position to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad.

The White House said “on day one at the U.N. Framework on Climate Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26), President Biden will outline the bold steps his Administration is taking in his whole-of-government approach to combat climate change, underscore how bold action delivers economic prosperity and peace and security, and rally countries from every corner of the world to step up their ambition and confront this existential threat during a decisive decade.”

It added that “President Biden is committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 50-52 percent below 2005 levels in 2030, reaching a 100% carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, and achieving a net-zero economy by no later than 2050 – all while creating good paying, union jobs at home.”

He is also committed, the White House said, “to partnering with countries most in need to strengthen the resilience of communities and economies across the world, including those vulnerable to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, reducing tensions and risks of instability.”

Below is a detailed list of the actions and announcements the president will make at COP26, according to the White House.

Launch the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE). This is a whole-of-government initiative that will serve as the cornerstone of the U.S. Government response to addressing the increasing impacts of the global climate crisis in order to enhance global stability. The President will work with Congress to provide $3 billion in adaptation finance annually for PREPARE by FY2024 – the largest U.S. commitment ever made to reduce climate impacts on those most vulnerable to climate change worldwide. PREPARE will activate a coordinated approach that will bring the United States’ diplomatic, development, and technical expertise to help more than half a billion people in developing countries to adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change through locally-led development by 2030. Specifically, PREPARE consists of three primary components:

  • Knowledge: Information is Power. The United States will support efforts to deepen global understanding of climate risks, vulnerabilities, and adaptation solutions while supporting expanded development, innovation, and delivery of climate information services, decision support tools, and early warning systems.
  • Plans and Programs: Mainstream and Integrate Adaptation, Build Relationships, Execute. The United States will help countries and communities in vulnerable situations plan for climate impacts and mainstream adaptation into broader decision making, with the ultimate goal of enhancing peace and security, safeguarding lives, livelihoods, and the natural environment from the impacts of climate change.
  • Resources: Mobilizing Finance and Private Capital. The United States will accelerate financing of adaptation measures by contributing to and shaping new and existing multilateral and bilateral adaptation funds, supporting multiple climate risk finance strategies, strengthening capacity to access finance for adaptation and develop bankable investments, and striving to mobilize private capital.

Submit the First U.S. Adaptation Communication under the Paris Agreement. This  document outlines U.S. priorities, policies, and initiatives to implement adaptation and resilience strategies both domestically and in vulnerable countries and communities around the world. The Adaptation Communication summarizes short- and long-term climate risks, provides examples of adaptation action, and shares lessons learned. Building on these lessons learned, the adaptation communication describes a whole-of-government approach to scaling up actions that enhance the resilience of people, communities, infrastructure, and natural resources to the impacts of climate change at home, and abroad.

Submit our 7th UNFCCC National Communication, and 3rd and 4th Biennial Reports required by the Paris Agreement. To communicate our continued progress in recent years, these reports focus on U.S. actions taken between 2016 and 2020 to combat climate change at home and support developing countries. They recognize the value of transparency in our shared, global efforts to tackle the climate crisis and highlight the critical role of our state, local, and Tribal governments, as well as private, educational, and non-profit organizations in delivering climate progress.  

Release the U.S. Long-Term Strategy to meet our 2050 goal—consistent with limiting global warming to less than 1.5 C.  The Strategy shows how action in this decade can set us on track for continued, deeper greenhouse gas reductions through the 2030s and 2040s via federal, state, local, and Tribal government leadership, in coordination with all-of-society action. The U.S. 2050 net-zero goal is ambitious and achievable, and supports a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable economy, including the opportunity to create millions of high-quality jobs with the chance to join a union. Achieving our net zero goals will mean a completely carbon pollution-free society, with strong economic and public health benefits for all Americans – and the world.

And going into COP26, the President announced the Build Back Better Framework – a $555 billion investment representing the largest single investment in our clean energy economy in history, across buildings, transportation, industry, electricity, agriculture, and climate-smart practices across lands and waters. The framework will set the United States on course to meet its climate targets, achieving a 50-52% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels in 2030 in a way that grows domestic industries and good, union jobs and advances environmental justice. Specifically, it will:

  • Deliver substantial clean energy rebates for consumers and ensure middle class families save money to afford clean energy and electrification, including lowering the costs of electric vehicles by $12,500 and cut the cost of installing rooftop solar for a home by around 30 percent.
  • Ensure clean energy technology – from wind turbine blades to solar panels to electric cars – will be built in the United States with American made steel and other materials, creating hundreds of thousands of good jobs here at home.
  • Make the largest investment in clean U.S. manufacturing in history, and ensure that the U.S. is a global leader in the production of green materials, like steel, aluminum, and cement.
  • Advance environmental justice through a new Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator that will invest in projects around the country, while delivering 40% of the benefits of investment to disadvantaged communities, as part of the President’s Justice40 initiative.
  • Create a new Civilian Climate Corps – with over 300,000 members that look like America who will conserve our public lands, bolster community resilience, and address the changing climate, all while putting good-paying union jobs within reach for more Americans.
  • Bolster resilience and natural solutions to climate change through a historic investment in coastal restoration, forest management, and soil conservation. The framework will provide resources to States, Tribes, communities, farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners, supporting their efforts to improve habitat, protect against the effects of climate change, and reduce emissions.

These historic Build Back Better investments will be complemented by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, which will rebuild the arteries of our economy while accelerating clean energy and transportation, advancing environmental justice, and bolstering resilience. It will:

  • Make the largest federal investment in public transit in history, to expand public transit options across every state in the country and replace thousands of transit vehicles with clean, zero-emission vehicles.
  • Build out the first-ever national network of electric vehicle chargers along highway corridors and within communities.
  • Upgrade our power infrastructure, by building new, resilient transmission lines across the country.
  • Clean up pollution by remediating Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaiming abandoned mine land, and capping orphaned gas wells.
  • Deliver clean drinking water by replacing the nation’s lead pipes and service lines, addressing PFAS chemicals, and investing in water infrastructure across America, including in Tribal Nations and disadvantaged communities that need it most.
  • Build community resilience against climate-fueled extreme weather including droughts, floods, and wildfires.
  • Reconnect communities divided by transportation infrastructure, by funding planning, design, demolition, and reconstruction of street grids, parks, or other infrastructure.
Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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