Nothing like a virtual climate summit to stir fresh commitments to reduce GHG emissions.

Here are some encouraging commitments announced in concert with the President Biden-hosted meeting:

United States: cut GHG emissions up to 52% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

China: pledged to cut carbon emissions per unit of economic output by over 65% by 2030, aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2060 and have its emissions peak before 2030. “China has committed to move from carbon peak to carbon neutrality in a much shorter time span than what might take many developed countries, and that requires extraordinary hard efforts from China,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping.

United Kingdom: cut 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. “It’s vital for all of us to show that this is not all about some expensive, politically correct, green act of bunny hugging. This is about growth and jobs,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “Cake — have, eat — is my message to you.”

European Union: a 55% cut by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. “Our political commitment to becoming the first climate neutral continent by 2050 is now also a legal commitment,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. 

Japan: cut 46% by 2030 below 2013 levels.

Korea: pledged to reach ‘carbon neutrality’ by 2050.

Canada: cut 40 to 45% by 2030 below 2005 levels.

Germany: cut at least 55% less emissions by 2030 compared to 1990.

Brazil: Even the world’s biggest deforester appears to have stepped up to the plate. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro moved up Brazil’s goal for achieving carbon neutrality by a decade, to 2050 and pledged to eliminate illegal deforestation in the Amazon by 2030.

New Zealand made no new specific commitment. Citing work underway (in response to the NZ Climate Change Commission), PM Ardern told the meeting, “We will lift our ambition because we must.”

New Zealand’s present commitment is to achieve ‘net zero’ for CO2 emissions by 2050 and 24-47% of biogenic methane emissions. The Climate Change Commission considers that the country’s current policies would not enable NZ to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C.

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