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World’s two largest economies commit to climate action

Accelerating the global phase-out of coal is the single most important step to keep the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement within reach

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National governments are the main drivers of change to reduce harmful emissions. / Photograph courtesy of UN

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday welcomed important commitments made toward climate action by the world’s two largest economies, as the 76th High Level Debate began in New York.

He hailed United States’ President Jose Biden’s announcement that the US would significantly increase its international climate finance to approximately $11.4 billion a year.

“This increased contribution from the United States will bring developed countries closer to meeting their collective commitment to mobilize $100 billion a year in climate finance,” said the UN chief in a statement.

Guterres also welcomes the announcement made by President Xi Jinping that China would end all financing of
coal-fired power plants abroad and redirect its support to green and low carbon energy.

“Accelerating the global phase-out of coal is the single most important step to keep the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement within reach,” he underscored.

While the announcements were most welcome, the top UN official flagged that there is still “a long way to go” to make next month’s UN climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow a success that ensures “a turning point in our collective efforts to address the climate crisis.”

He reminded that, based on the member-states’ current emission reduction commitments, “the world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7 degrees of heating.”

The Secretary-General called for “decisive action by all countries,” especially the G20 leading industrialized nations, to “go the extra mile” and effectively contribute to emission reductions.

“All countries must bring their highest level of ambition to Glasgow if we are to keep the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement within reach,” he said.

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