It was always expected that Joe Biden’s election would be a massive shot in the arm for international climate action, but the scale of that boost has been genuinely surprising.
The new president has now invited 40 world leaders to a virtual climate change summit coinciding with Earth Day this Thursday. China’s Xi Jinping will be there, following productive face-to-face talks last week between Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, and his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, in Shanghai. Even Vladimir Putin is attending, despite divisions between Washington and the Russian leader over new sanctions.
Japan, South Korea and Canada are all expected to announce new medium-term 2030 emissions reduction plans this week, after earlier refusing to do so. Even China – the world’s largest emitter – last week signalled they may also be prepared to do more this decade above and beyond commitments they made at the end of last year.
Our country, however, continues to bury its head in the sand, despite the fact that Australia remains dangerously at risk of the economic and environmental consequences that will come from the climate crisis barrelling towards us.