Yesterday, April 22, 2021, marked Earth Day. This event, created on April 22, 1970, brings together more than a billion people in 193 countries. A day during which everyone celebrates the Earth and shows their commitment to supporting the protection of the environment.
We've been talking about it for a while now, it's the day Joe Biden chose to host his virtual climate summit. 40 heads of state were invited and it was the opportunity for the American president to present his program to fight against climate change and to anchor his country even more in the world leadership after four years of absence.
The first moments of the summit marked a radical departure from the climate-skepticism of its predecessor. When Donald Trump castigated the recommendations of specialists and scientific evidence, Joe Biden chose to take the immediate opposite to make the international community understand that it could once again count on the United States and form a united front around its president . Faithful to his commitments, he wished to reassure the audience by showing that his administration is taking the full measure of the climate emergency by declaring the situation of: “existential crisis of our time. The signs are undeniable. The science is undeniable. And the cost of inaction keeps rising. We need to act. We have to act quickly. ”
Accompanied by his climate envoy, John Kerry, and Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, Joe Biden immediately warned: “No nation can solve this crisis on its own. All of us, and especially those of us who represent the world's largest economies, must make an effort ”.
The effort announced by Joe Biden is friendly: to halve his country's greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This is double the commitments made by Barak Obama when he signed the Paris Agreement in 2015. But it has been clear that all the nations have not respected the course and are dangerously behind in relation to the objectives set in the Agreement. It is therefore at the cost of considerable and constant efforts that global warming can be contained below the 2 degrees Celsius collectively decided upon.
And that is exactly what it is. Beyond presenting its own program, The Joe Biden summit aimed to recreate a global dynamic around the United States to engage in the fight for the climate in a rigorous way. For this, the United States presented itself alongside a sizeable asset in the person of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who said to himself: "impatient to work with the international community, including the United States, to jointly advance global environmental governance ”. The Chinese president took the opportunity to recall China's objectives: "to strive to reach the peak of carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060" . Already 10 years behind other countries and the second biggest polluter on the planet behind the United States, China will have a lot to do to accelerate its transformation, decarbonize its economy and abandon fossil fuels, in particular its large park of coal-fired power stations. But the Chinese leader wanted to be reassuring by releasing: " Chinese civilization has always valued the harmony between man and nature". Fortunately for the earth do we want to add and feel a certain reserve with regard to the prudence of the declarations!
The other nations were in unison. They all welcomed the return of the United States and guaranteed that each was making every effort to do its part. This is in essence what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose country ranks third largest polluter, said: "We are doing our part ... We have taken many bold steps". The same goodwill displayed by Russia. Vladimir Putin has reiterated his promises and keeps the 2050 deadline. He remains convinced that by then, his country will have significantly reduced its carbon emissions "despite the size of Russia, its geography, its climate and its economic structure. ".
Europe, for its part, made its voice heard through, among others, Angela Merkel who was: "delighted to see that the United States is again ready to work with us in the field of climate policy. Because there is no doubt that the world needs your contribution ” , as well as the French President, Emmanuel Macron, for whom there is no doubt that: “ to act for the climate means to regulate, and to regulate at the international level. If we don't set a price for carbon, there will be no transition ”.
During this summit, statements by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, the ugly duckling of the international scene, were eagerly awaited. The Brazilian leader surprised with a very soft tone. "I have decided that carbon neutrality in Brazil will be achieved in 2050" he declared. And to repeat that he is committed to: "eliminate illegal deforestation in Brazil by 2030".
This approach left, once again, very perplexed all the NGOs and associations fighting on a daily basis for the protection of the environment which saw in these declarations only a new attempt to claim money from the international community. and gave no credit to promises repeatedly betrayed, like the reaction of Marcio Astrini, of the NGO collective Climate Observatory. “Brazil came out of this summit as it entered it: discredited. Bolsonaro spent half of his speech asking for money for environmental advances already made in the past, but which his government has been trying to destroy for two years. "
In the end, we will remember from this summit the excellent news of the return to the foreground of the United States in the climate fight. For the rest, in meetings which are always marked by an outpouring of goodwill, we will do as in poker: we will remain cautious. We want to see.