US President Biden’s two top climate officials, US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry and White House Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy, highlighted US action at the start of COP26 on Monday.
Speaking to reporters, Kerry said officials would be unveiling more details on the US and EU’s Global Methane Pledge, an international pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030, as well as private financing commitments from major banks in the US.
“Never before have we needed to put more measurement together and more transparency and more commitment than today,” Kerry said. “If you don’t do enough between 2020 and 2030, you don’t keep alive the prospect of net zero by 2050. That is what is guiding us here in Glasgow.”
Kerry said his team has “been busy making the private sector our partners in this endeavor,” and said the six largest American banks are promising to invest a minimum of nearly $4.2 trillion towards climate projects over the next decade.
McCarthy emphasized Biden’s legislative climate agenda, which is a critical piece of overall US climate action. Last week, Biden’s White House announced a $1.75 trillion economic and climate framework, which contains $555 billion in proposed investments for climate and clean energy. Still, that framework has not yet been passed into law, as US lawmakers hammer out last-minute negotiations.
“This is what commitment looks like; this is the largest investment to combat climate in our history by tenfold,” McCarthy said. “And it’s going to let us reduce emissions well over a gigaton. We are talking about a big chunk of change here.”
McCarthy also mentioned a new long-term strategy report released by her and Kerry’s office today, which says the US needs to start removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, using agricultural tools sequestering carbon in soil, forests and grasslands, as well as engineering carbon removal.