LONDON – It makes “a huge difference” to have the United States back in the fight for a more sustainable world, EU climate chief told CNBC on Friday as President Joe Biden prepares for the second day of his summit on the climate.
Biden’s stance on climate change marked a U-turn for American politics after Donald Trump’s presidency. One of Biden’s first acts was to sign the Paris climate agreement, after Trump decided to exit the agreement during his tenure. Trump also overturned more than 100 environmental rules during his tenure.
“It’s good news that the United States is back, that’s a huge difference. I also think it’s good news that all of these leaders have come to this meeting and are committed. But now we need to translate that into concrete measures.” Frans Timmermans, executive vice president of the European Commission, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe”.
On Thursday, the United States pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by 2030, more than doubling previous commitments made during the Obama presidency.
Furthermore, during the virtual event, Brazil, Canada and Japan announced their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. China, India and Russia also attended the summit and outlined plans to go greener.
The European Union has worked to reduce carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030 – a task that is “bloody difficult” but not impossible, Timmermans said.
“We need to step up our game in the European Union as well, but we have also shown in our analysis that it can be done,” he said.
“If we don’t do this and the temperature rises above 1.5 degrees Celsius, the consequences for our societies will be tremendously negative.”
However, one of the problems with climate commitment is the lack of oversight and enforcement.
When asked if some sort of punishment should be introduced to keep countries in check, Timmermans said: “There is already disciplinary action underway because investors are moving away from coal, very quickly. Investors are investing. massively in renewable energies “.
More and more investors are focusing on greener assets, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, investors have also called for more transparency from businesses so that they can better assess where “green” efforts are being made.
In this context, the EU unveiled on Wednesday a new set of rules that aim to clarify what can be classified as green investment and what cannot be.