eIt wasn’t a diplomatic mistake during the virtual climate summit – just an hour after it started. The word is Emmanuel Macron. The French President only speaks for a few minutes. Suddenly it became possible to hear US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken: “Thank you, Mr. President. I am now handing over the task to the President of the Russian Federation, Your Excellency Vladimir Putin.” Nothing happened. Macron’s voice can be heard, it is a pre-recorded speech.
Meanwhile, Putin appears in the video clip. He is upset about being summoned all of a sudden. Putin is silent, and turns to an employee invisible in the photo. Blinken is also unstable, he turns around. So I announce Putin’s contribution again. Putin clearly lets in for a few seconds before speaking. „We ran into technical difficulties,” Blinken said after Putin’s speech. He immediately broadcast Macron’s speech again, this time in its entirety.
Macron’s word was cut, Putin took precedence – this scene is a bit embarrassing for the world power USA, especially in the current extremely tense situation with Russia. What kind of excitement would have happened if the Donald Trump administration got it wrong? It would have been said that Trump’s closeness to Putin and his contempt for Western allies appeared here again. One could laugh that the United States will not do so easily by returning to harmonious pluralism. On Thursday, however, there was no outrage at CNN.
The summit had already started with a technical glitch. Vice President Kamala Harris’ speech was heard in full, and Biden’s speech began twice with delay. Later, during the Japanese prime minister’s speech, the director’s instruction was heard that „Germany” was next in line. Chancellor Angela Merkel got the word only after the prime ministers of Canada and Bangladesh.
As elegant as the tech side of the Climate Summit, very few of the 40 heads of state and government Biden had gathered were ambitious. The US President himself repeated his mantra, which is: We must act – now. Combating global warming requires swift action and is a „moral and economic imperative”.
„We have no other choice,” Biden said. The United States wants to lead by example by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 compared to 2005. So far, the United States has committed to a 26 to 28 percent reduction by 2025 as part of the Paris Agreement on Climate Protection. . Biden cannot be blamed for his lack of ambition.
With the infrastructure package, Biden wants to make America cleaner and more efficient, boost thermal insulation and modernize a struggling railroad. $ 174 billion (145 billion euros) alone will be pumped into half a million charging stations for electric cars. To date, e-cars have only 2% market share in the USA. In 2020, more e-cars were sold in Germany than in the United States, which has a population of four times.
Biden also wants to equip millions of homes with better solar panels and insulation. This primarily targets low-income families and members of minorities. Windows in the USA have a legendary bad reputation. In all of these plans, Biden does not see charity, but a claim to survival on the world stage.
The federal, state, and city levels, and small and large businesses, will need to work together. Biden didn’t mention his Achilles heel: Republicans continue to deny some climate change, just as Trump once did. Trump has repeatedly claimed during his presidency that „cancer” is caused by wind turbines. Today Republicans are opposed to the Biden infrastructure program. Biden’s majority in Congress is very weak. In the midterm elections at the end of 2022, he may also lose this majority. Appealing to the international community to act now is at the same time a domestic political self-reassurance. Biden said the virtual climate summit should be just one step on the road to the UN climate conference COP in November in Glasgow.
China conceals the massive expansion of coal-fired power generation
The dialects the leaders launched on Thursday were important in several ways. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has criticized coal-fired power plants and called for the removal of related subsidies. Is China the largest emitter of carbon dioxide? State and Party leader Xi Jinping announced that coal-fired power plants would be „strictly controlled” and that coal consumption would be „strictly limited” and „gradually reduced.” He did not mention the fact that China is expanding (and exporting) coal-fired power plants. Xi presented beautiful verbal images of green mountains as „golden mountains,” invoking „better life”, social justice and international law. Neither Xi nor Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced any new climate targets.
The most surprising contribution was made by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who once portrayed himself as a friend of Trump. Now he praised the „return of the United States to the front lines in the war against climate change.” Johnson praised the local wind energy sector. His country, the „Saudi Arabia of the wind,” has addressed the loss of biodiversity. Johnson did like Biden, stressing the economic opportunities of climate change, and invoking „growth and jobs”. The task is not about preserving the „politically correct” naive nature. Johnson quoted Biden’s slogan „Build Back Better” and added: „Build back greener.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced more ambitious climate targets for his country. Chancellor Merkel indirectly slapped former President Trump in the face. „I am very happy that the United States is back in climate policy,” Merkel said. There is no argument that the world needs the contribution of the United States. You are facing a „global arduous task”.
For Emmanuel Macron, 2030 is the new year of 2050
In his speech – which was stalled at the start – French President Macron urged „acceleration” of climate targets. Basically, 2030 is the new year of 2050. Regulations at the international level are essential. Putin, who only promised to attend the summit on Monday, has not announced any new goals. Putin said the discussion showed „how deep we are all concerned about climate change.” He did not mention the Nord Stream 2 pipeline on the Baltic Sea, which the United States rejects.
David Capua, president of the oceanic Marshall Islands (53,000 people) threatened by sea level rise, lamented the „excuse” that reducing emissions was too costly. Rather, what is required are „unambiguous signals”. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was on the defensive. He promised to take measures to preserve the Amazon. Brazil will end illegal logging by 2030.
After several heads of state and government gave the floor, Xiye Bastida, 18, organizer Friday for the Future in New York. “You have to accept that the age of fossil fuels is over,” the young woman told the participants. People on the islands, Africa, the Amazon and the Arctic have suffered the most from climate change. Support for harmful energies must be stopped. The goal of a limited temperature rise of 1.5 ° C is indeed a compromise.
„She will keep telling us that we are unreal and irrational,” Bastida said. The lack of ambition and courage is „unrealistic and unreasonable”. In a very American way, Bastida described the climate crisis not only as the greatest challenge, but also as the „greatest opportunity to change the world.”