Overnight Energy: World leaders pledge cooperation during Biden's global climate summit

Overnight Energy: World leaders pledge cooperation during Biden's global climate summit
© Getty Images

HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day’s energy and environment news.Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him on Twitter: @BudrykZack . Signup for our newsletter and others HERE

Today we’re looking at so many stories from the White House climate summit, Biden’s official emissions reduction target announcement and the admin’s first steps toward returning California’s tailpipe emission waiver.



Takeaways: Here are The Hill’s takeaways from day one of the summit, including:

  • The U.S. is back
  • Biden's proposal draws criticism from left, right
  • U.S. plan is ambitious, but comparatively it's a mixed bag
  • Officials stress need for private sector help
  • Biden's goal will require significant domestic policies to achieve success


WORLD PIECE: World leaders pledge cooperation during Biden's global climate summit

World leaders beamed into President BidenJoe BidenBiden says Beau's assessment of first 100 days would be 'Be who you are' Biden: McCarthy's support of Cheney ouster is 'above my pay grade' Conservative group sues over prioritization of women, minorities for restaurant aid MORE’s virtual global summit on climate change Thursday, vowing to collaborate on targets for worldwide decarbonization while also laying out their own countries' efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The first day of a two-day summit featured remarks from 27 world leaders from all corners of the globe, from the largest world powers like China and the European Union, to smaller countries most at risk of the natural dangers of a warming planet, like the tiny nation of the Marshall Islands and the landlocked southeast Asian nation of Bhutan. 

The U.N.: The virtual roundtable kicked off with a stark warning from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who reiterated his message that the world is “at the verge of the abyss,” and called for leaders everywhere to take action on climate change.

Guterres called for every country, industry and company to strive for net-zero emissions by mid-century, and that major emitters should submit new and more ambitious targets.


China: He was followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose country is the leading contributor to climate change, who said, “We must be committed to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.”

Xi emphasized cooperation between China and the U.S. on addressing climate change, one of the few areas of cooperation between Washington and Beijing in a largely adversarial relationship.

Brazil: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who has drawn international scrutiny for his campaign to open up the Amazon forest to industry and moves to weaken the enforcement of environmental laws, also addressed the virtual summit.

But in his remarks to the summit, Bolsonaro highlighted the country’s recent pledge to end deforestation by 2030, and alluded to a desire for international aid to help the country do so.

“There must be fair payment for environmental services provided by our biomes, to the planet at large,  as a way to recognize the economic nature of environmental conservation activities,” he said.

Read more about what the rest of the world leaders had to say here.

Biden says: President Biden on Thursday called for collective action to combat climate change, saying the global community has no choice but to act to confront “the existential crisis of our time.”

“No nation can solve this crisis on our own,” Biden said. “All of us, particularly those of us who represent the world’s largest economies, we have to step up.”

“This is a moral imperative, an economic imperative. A moment of peril but also a moment of extraordinary possibilities,” Biden continued. “Time is short, but I believe we can do this and I believe that we will do this.” 

“We really have no choice, we have to get this done,” he added. 

Biden argued that countries who followed the lead of his administration in making investments to address climate change would make their economies “more resilient and competitive,” thereby reaping the benefits in the future. 

Read more about Biden’s comments here.

What are you gonna do about it? China will begin to reduce its coal use starting in 2026 and “strictly limit” its increase in coal use until then, President Xi Jinping said Thursday.

“We will strictly limit the increase in coal consumption over the 14th five-year plan period and phase it down in the 15th five-year plan period,” Xi said during an Earth Day summit hosted by the White House.


Meanwhile, Canada and Japan both announced updated emissions targets. Canada’s Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauBiden to record video message for 'Vax Live' concert Pranksters trick Canadian lawmakers with fake Navalny aide: report Trudeau voices 'tremendous confidence' in AstraZeneca vaccine after first Canadian death linked to shot MORE said his country will aim to get its emissions 40 to 45  percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and Japan’s Yoshihide Suga said his country would try to reduce theirs 46 to 50 percent below 2013 levels.

Read more about China’s commitment here.

All about the money, money, money: President Biden announced a new international climate finance plan on Thursday that seeks to eventually double U.S. financing for climate-related programs in developing countries and put limits on international investment in fossil fuels. 

The plan seeks to double the financing for the international programs by 2024 compared to fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2016, including tripling its finance for adaptation. 

The plan also calls for ending international investments and support for “carbon intensive fossil fuel-based” energy projects except for in limited circumstances where there’s a “compelling development or national security reason.”

It doesn’t lay out which types of fossil fuels it considers carbon intensive, but a National Security Council spokesperson said that this refers to "unabated coal and gas-fired generation."

And it would aim to mobilize money from the private sector, calling on the Treasury and State departments to find “financial innovations” that attract large scale private sector investments. 


Read more about the international financing plan here.



OK WE KNOW WE’VE TALKED ABOUT THIS ONE A LOT, BUT IT’S IMPORTANT, WE PROMISE: Biden aims for 50 to 52 percent emissions reduction by 2030

President Biden is aiming to reduce the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent when compared to 2005 levels by the year 2030, an interim goal in his quest to reach net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050. 

A White House fact sheet announced the much-anticipated goal, which will both guide the next several years of domestic climate policy and send a signal to the rest of the world on how aggressively the U.S. plans to combat climate change. 

The target, called a nationally determined contribution, is being made as part of the Paris Agreement and will be formally submitted to the United Nations. 


The fact sheet provides a broad outline as to the kinds of policies the administration is considering for reducing emissions, like reducing tailpipe emissions and increasing vehicle fuel efficiency. But administration officials told reporters that they see multiple pathways to achieve the cuts. 

Read more about the updated target here.


PIPING UP: Biden administration takes step toward allowing California to set its own tailpipe standards

The Biden administration on Thursday took a step toward allowing California to once again set its own vehicle emissions standards, an ability that was revoked under the Trump administration. 

The Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a withdrawal of its part of a Trump-era rule that preempted states from setting their own standards.

Early next week, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to take action on its piece of the issue: Deciding whether to restore a waiver that let California set its own standards. 

Not allowing California to set its own standards — which have been adopted in turn by more than a dozen other states — was considered a major climate rollback, as tighter tailpipe standards are expected to result in a greater share of electric or other lower-emission vehicles being sold.

Read more about the move here.



  • Climate summit Round 2! 



There Are Massive Chemical Dumps In The Gulf We Know Almost Nothing About, HuffPost reports

‘Greenwashing campaign’: NYC targets Exxon, BP and Shell in false advertising lawsuit, The New York Daily News reports

OPEC says 'NOPEC' bill could put U.S. overseas assets, personnel at risk, Reuters reports

Minnesota Supreme Court rules gas plant can proceed without environmental review, The Wisconsin State Journal reports

New Mexico sues oil company for cleanup of abandoned wells, The Associated Press reports


ICYMI: Stories from Thursday...

Pentagon chief: Climate crisis 'existential' threat to US national security

Biden administration takes step toward allowing California to set its own tailpipe emissions standards

Thunberg changes bio to 'bunny hugger' after Boris Johnson uses term

Senators spar over Biden green energy infrastructure push

US, Canadian governments to collaborate on green government-operations initiative

Senate to vote next week on repealing Trump methane rule 

Greta Thunberg tells lawmakers it's 'time to do the right thing' on climate

Biden seeks to boost climate financing for developing countries, limit fossil fuel investment

As leaders hail climate ambitions, activists warn of devastation now

Grijalva calls for return of public lands agency to DC after Trump moved BLM out West

Activists dump cow poop to protest Biden climate plan

Climate change could cost global economy $23T by 2050

China to reduce its coal use starting in 2026 

Biden demands collective action at White House climate summit

Biden aims for 50 to 52 percent emissions reduction by 2030

Push for infrastructure gas-tax hike loses steam

DC set for jam-packed Earth Day as Biden announces Paris emissions goal

World leaders pledge cooperation during Biden's global climate summit

Five takeaways from Biden's climate summit

Senate Democrats' campaign arm taps Ossoff to chair environmental council


OFF-BEAT AND OFFBEAT: Shell of a day