Biden announces new initiatives to curb methane and zero-emission vehicles at international climate meeting – Boston News, Weather, Sports

President Joe Biden will announce several new initiatives on Friday morning when it hosts the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, senior government officials said. It is the largest climate gathering of world leaders ahead of the COP27 UN climate summit in November.

23 of the world’s largest economies will be represented at the virtual gathering, as well as other countries participating in climate pledges, officials said. Several foreign nations are expected to announce tougher climate targets in line with the Paris Agreement.

The US and European Union will take the next step in their global methane pledge to reduce emissions of the warming gas by 30% by 2030. The so-called energy pathway, officials said, will focus on eliminating routine flaring in fossil fuels and will focus on ways to reduce methane pollution in the oil and gas sector.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, about 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term. Climate scientists say cutting methane emissions is a necessary but easy way to turn down the dial on the climate crisis.

Biden will also announce a new global initiative focused on raising $90 billion to develop and scale new clean technologies for decarbonization, officials said. The US will allocate $21.5 billion to this effort, with funds already passed in Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The US will also invite other countries to join the president’s previously announced goal that half of the vehicles sold in the US will be battery electric, fuel cell electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030, officials said. Biden’s zero-emission vehicle target is not binding, and some other countries are more aggressive about it. For example, the European Union is considering its own tougher standards to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine cars by 2035.

Senior government officials said Friday’s meeting was a chance for the world’s major economies to reaffirm their climate commitments amid the related turmoil Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“These measures are all the more urgent after Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine, which has disrupted energy prices, weighed on economies from rising prices and threatened vulnerable communities with severe food shortages,” said a senior administration official.

Countries participating in the Friday meeting include China, Australia, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt – which will host COP27 in November.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will not attend the meeting; China will instead be represented by its climate ambassador, Xie Zhenhua, officials said.

Another senior government official said Zhenhua and US climate chief John Kerry have met multiple times over the past month and continued work on the deal between the two countries announced at COP26 ‘intensified’ and ‘top priority’ in Glasgow last year.

“We are committed to working with them on issues such as their plan to tackle methane emissions in China for the first time,” the official said. “Of course we are also involved in other issues such as the energy transition or illegal deforestation in China.”

The US faces a steep road to reach its own emissions target

As promising as Biden’s early goals for cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were, progress toward those goals has been mixed, independent analysis shows.

To Resumption of the Paris Agreement After taking office, Biden announced a goal Halve US emissions from 2005 levels – a record year for planet-warming emissions – to 2030.

To achieve that, the nonpartisan research firm Rhodium Group found that three key things would need to happen: Biden would need to direct massive clean energy investments through Congress; enact several ambitious federal regulations to reduce emissions from things like vehicles, power plants, and industry , and states would have to make significant progress.

On Thursday, Rhodium released a progress report showing this little progress has been madeand the window to action is closing fast.

Rhodium Group partner John Larsen told CNN that the things Biden has been able to get done so far — including passing his bipartisan infrastructure bill and enforcing some government regulations — are still nibbling at the edges of his Paris engagement.

“The big-ticket items are all either on hold or in very early stages,” Larsen told CNN.

The biggest outstanding item is a climate and clean energy package going through Congress. Talks between West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer over a limited spending package that will likely include clean energy tax credits are ongoing — but so far it’s unclear if they’ll reach an agreement .

The timeline for passing such legislation is extremely tight, as Democrats risk losing their majority in November.

Larsen said Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency has several regulations that are either in the works or have yet to begin that could leave a dent. But even that has roadblocks.

Another obstacle to progress was the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, which could limit the administration’s tools to reduce planet-warming gases in the electricity sector.

“When [White House national climate adviser] Gina McCarthy says the federal government has all the means to achieve the goal, it’s almost certain they will,” Larsen said. “But how they use these tools and how ambitious they choose to be will almost certainly be influenced by whether there are laws in place.”

(Copyright (c) 2022 CNN. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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Nate Jones

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