Biden confirms 30 percent global methane reduction goal, urges ‘highest possible ambitions’
President Biden on Friday confirmed a goal of reducing global methane emissions 30 percent by the end of the decade while speaking at a White House summit and touted congressional infrastructure packages as vital to achieving domestic climate goals.
Meeting the methane target “will not only rapidly reduce the rate of global warming, it will also produce a very valuable side benefit like improving public health and agricultural output,” the president said while hosting a summit of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.
The attendees of the forum, including the U.S., make up about 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The president did not specify what the U.S. contribution to the methane reduction target would be, and American options to compel international cooperation on the goal are limited.
“We believe the collective goal is both ambitious but realistic … and we urge you to join us in announcing this pledge,” the president said.
Biden emphasized the need for contributions beyond simply those of the U.S. to the targets in his remarks, saying “I look forward to continuing this work together, and hearing how you plan to contribute to the climate ambition the world so desperately needs.”
Virtual attendees at the summit included leaders of the U.K., South Korea, Argentina, Bangladesh, the European Union, Indonesia, Mexico and the United Nations. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and climate envoy John Kerry both attended the summit in person.
Biden convened the forum months before the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, set to begin in Glasgow on Nov. 1.
“We have to bring to Glasgow our highest possible ambitions,” the president said. “For those who have not done so, time is running out.”
He touted the climate resilience and energy infrastructure provisions of both the White House-backed budget reconciliation package and the bipartisan infrastructure package, both of which contain major climate agenda items such grid modernization, expanded rail infrastructure and a Civilian Climate Corps. The $3.5 trillion reconciliation package also includes a “methane fee” levied against individual companies responsible for major emissions.
The White House had previously identified the global methane target on a press call earlier this week. Although an initial draft applied the goal to the U.S. and the European Union, a separate document said other parties could include China, Russia, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Britain and South Africa.