Biden’s climate summit zeroes in on technology to help fight global warming

U.S. President Joe Biden’s energy secretary told a climate summit clean technology is “our generation’s moonshot” on Friday, the second and final day of an event that is seeking to rally world ambition to reduce global warming.

Biden called the meeting with dozens of heads-of-state to declare the United States back at the climate leadership table after his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, withdrew from the Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“This our generation’s moon shot,” Jennifer Granholm, Biden’s energy secretary, said about opportunities for jobs and investment in clean technology such as carbon capture and storage, solar panels, and electric vehicles.

The Democratic president, who returned the United States to the pact, announced a new U.S. target on Thursday to reduce its emissions 50%-52% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. Japan and Canada also raised their targets. read more

The White House has sought to assure other countries that it can meet that target, even if a new administration takes over, because industry is moving toward cleaner power, electric vehicles, and more renewable energy anyway.

“No politician, no matter how demagogic or how potent and capable they are, is going to be able to change what that market is doing,” said John Kerry, Biden’s climate envoy.

The administration rolled out top cabinet officials and business leaders to make the case for technology’s role in a “net-zero, climate-resilient economy”.

Biden has sought to connect efforts to fight climate change with opportunities to create jobs, arguing that taking action will be good for the economy in order to counter Republican concerns that climate regulation could harm growth and jobs.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo are all scheduled to take part in Friday’s conference.

Foreign leaders including Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phucare are also slated to join.

Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, both wealthy businessmen-turned-philanthropists, will also feature. They have focused their energies on climate change in recent years. Gates has invested about $2 billion toward the development of clean technologies, mostly in electricity generation and storage.
REUTERS