GLASGOW — The world leaders gathered at a crucial climate summit secured new agreements on Tuesday to end deforestation and reduce emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane, building momentum as the conference prepared to shift to a more grueling two weeks of negotiations on how to avert the planet’s catastrophic warming.
Capping off two days of speeches and meetings, President Biden on Tuesday said the United States pledged to be a “partner” with vulnerable countries confronting climate change, while expressing confidence that his own domestic climate agenda is on track to pass Congress despite the wobbling of a key Senate DemocratThis week.
Reporters were told by Mr. Biden that the meeting had reaffirmed the United States’ leadership on what he called an existential threat for humanity. He said that America would continue to raise its climate ambitions, and that he had received thanks from other heads-of-state for his engagement on the matter.
He also reproached President Xi Jinping of China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, along with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, for not attending the summit.
“We showed up. We showed up,” Mr. Biden said at a news conference at the United Nations summit on climate change, known as COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland. “The fact that China is trying to assert, understandably, a new role in the world as a world leader, not showing up? Huh. The single most important thing that’s gotten the attention of the world is climate.”
The most consequential agreements reached on Tuesday came in areas where Mr. Biden said the United States was poised to move aggressively: reducing methane emissions and protecting the world’s forests.
Tuesday’s announcement by the Biden administration indicated that the Environmental Protection Agency will limit methane from approximately one million oil and gas rigs in the United States. This is part of a larger climate-focused plan for protecting tropical forests and to accelerate clean technology.
Officials from the administration announced shortly after that announcement that 105 countries had signed it. Global Methane Pledge, a commitment to reduce methane emissions 30 percent by 2030, including half of the world’s top 30 methane-emitting countries, and that they expected the list to grow.
Notably, however, some of the largest methane polluters like Australia, China, Russia, and Australia were not included in those signing on.
The leaders of more than 100 countries also pledged on Tuesday to end deforestation by 2030, agreeing to a sweeping accord aimed at protecting some 85 percent of the world’s forests, which are crucial to absorbing carbon dioxide and slowing the rise in global temperatures.
Global demand for soy, palm oil and timber is causing the loss of millions of acres of forest, most notably in Brazil, which has seen an increase in its forests. surge in deforestationThe Amazon since President Jair Bolsonaro was elected in 2019. Brazil is one of its signatories.
Boris Johnson, British prime Minister, was the host and master of ceremonies. He invoked a horror movie to call for countries to act on forests. “Let’s end this great chainsaw massacre,” he said.
The plan focuses on reducing the financial incentives for cutting down forests. Twelve governments have committed $12 Billion and private companies have pledged $7 billion to help restore and protect forests.
But some environmental organizations criticized Tuesday’s agreement, saying it would allow deforestation to continue and noting that similar efforts have failed in the past.
The methane pledge was unveiled at an event by Mr. Biden, Ursula von der Leyen (president of the European Commission, and a partner in hosting it), who described the agreement as one the most effective ways countries could quickly combat the effects of climate change.
Emissions methane,This is made from oil and natural gas operations as well as livestock and landfills. It can warm the atmosphere 80x faster than carbon dioxide in a short term.
Mr. Biden said that the United States was prepared to meet the methane goal and could “probably go beyond that” by 2030.
The E.P.A. was created by the American Petroleum Institute, which is a trade group representing the oil and natural gas industries. proposal “sweeping” and pledged to work with the agency to “help shape a final rule that is effective, feasible and designed to encourage further innovation.”
Before departing Glasgow on Tuesday night to fly to Washington in the late-evening, Mr. Biden applauded progress on several fronts since the second day’s meetings with heads of states, including initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. John Kerry, Mr. Biden’s special envoy on climate change, said he expected new financial commitments to fulfill a long-delayed promise to provide $100 billion a year in aid for developing countries to fight and adapt to global warming.
Private commitments were also made: Jeff Bezos (one of the most powerful people on the planet) pledged $2B to restore natural habitats and transform the food system to make them more sustainable in a warmer world.
The pledges on Tuesday offered glimmers of some concrete progress after a pessimistic start, which included repeated warnings that the world was running out of time to solve an existential crisis for humans — along with anger from leaders of developing countries who called on wealthy countries to do more, faster, to reduce the fossil fuel emissions that are warming the planet.
The conference’s most difficult work will begin once the top leaders have left home.
Diplomats will need to work out rules for international carbon markets over the next week and half. They also need to fulfill a promise made more than a decade back to deliver $100 billion annually by 2020 in order to help poor countries transition away from fossil fuels.
Most importantly, the most vulnerable countries are pressing major emitting states to agree to increase their climate goals each year in an effort to keep global temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is a stark contrast to levels before and after the Industrial Revolution.
China, ahead of the summit, announced it would peak its emissions “before” 2030 — a target that is essentially the same as the one it issued six years ago. The country’s presence at the Glasgow conference itself has been muted. While China’s top negotiator Xie Zhenhua will be in Glasgow throughout the two-week conference, several diplomats said privately they don’t anticipate major new announcements from the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter.
Biden was sharp in his critique of China during his news conference.
“I think it’s been a big mistake for China” not to show up at the conference, he said. “They’ve lost their ability to influence people around the world.”
Similar harsh words were used by Mr. Biden for Mr. Putin. “His tundra is burning,” Mr. Biden said. “Literally, his tundra is burning. He has serious climate issues. And he has been mum on his willingness to do anything.”
The criticisms of China from U.S. officials — including Mr. Biden’s national security adviser’s comment that the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter had “an obligation to step up” — drew a lengthy rebuke from China’s foreign ministry and some Chinese media outlets on Tuesday.
“China sticks to its word, and its actions bear fruit,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the ministry, told reporters in Beijing.
Mr. Wang criticized the United States for having “constantly flipped and flopped and gone backward” on climate change, and said it should do more to support the poorer countries that have been worst hit by the consequences of global warming.
The Global Times, a pugnaciously nationalist Chinese newspaper, went further, warning that the Biden administration’s climate change promises were likely to come to nothing if Republicans regain control of Congress in midterm elections.
“If he is not qualified to lead his own country, how are he and his administration going to ‘lead’ in global climate change action?” the paper said in an editorial.
In his news conference, Mr. Biden stated that he expected to get his $1.85 trillion climate and social safety net bill climate legislation through Congress and into law. He stated that he was certain that Senator Joe Manchin III, West Virginia’s key holdout, would vote in favor of the bill.
“I believe that Joe will be there,” Mr. Biden said. “I think we’ll get this done”
He also said that he had been praised by other leaders for getting the United States back into negotiations after disengagement from former President Donald J. Trump. comments he made at the endA Group of 20 people met in Rome on Sunday.
“We showed up,” Mr. Biden said on Tuesday, shortly before returning to Washington. “And by showing up, we’ve had a profound impact.”
Reporting was provided by Brad Plumer in Glasgow and Somini Sngupta in Sydney, Australia, Christopher Buckley, and Ivan Penn, Los Angeles.