China will also increase financial support for green and low-carbon energy projects in other developing countries, he said.
“I am encouraged by the important announcements made today at the General Assembly by the leaders of the world’s two largest economies regarding their commitment to climate action,” he said.
“I welcome President Biden’s announcement that the United States of America will significantly increase its international climate finance to approximately US$11.4 billion a year. This increased contribution from the United States will bring developed countries closer to meeting their collective commitment to mobilize US$100 billion a year in climate finance.”
“I also welcome the announcement made by President Xi that China will 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.”
Both the Chinese and US commitments were part of a day of leader speeches that marked the beginning of the UN General Debate among member states, and which Guterres had kicked off by warning humanity was on track for a “hellscape” of temperature rise that would bring “catastrophe.”
“The climate alarm bells are also ringing at fever pitch,” he said. “The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was a code red for humanity. We see the warning signs in every continent and region — scorching temperatures, shocking biodiversity loss, polluted air, water and natural spaces.”
The US was also criticized for failing to transfer any money under the Trump administration; Trump pulled the US out of its global climate financing commitments when he pulled out of the Paris climate agreement. Under the Obama administration, the US paid $1 billion of a $3 billion commitment it originally made in 2014.
Even with Biden’s new commitment, US allies contribute more to the effort. For instance, the European Union transfers around €25 billion a year (the equivalent of $29.3 billion).
China has invested heavily in new coal projects abroad in the past. According to the Green Belt and Road Initiative Center, which analyzes the BRI, China had announced or planned $160 billion worth of coal-fired plants globally between 2014 and 2020.
The assembly is the last major international event before world leaders meet again at the G20 in Rome in October, followed immediately by the UN climate conference in Scotland.
“We are weeks away from the UN climate conference in Glasgow, but seemingly light-years away from reaching our targets,” Guterres said in his initial address. “We must get serious and we must act fast”.
Reporting contributed by CNN’s Richard Roth in New York.Source link