American Climate Leadership Returns

Last Thursday and Friday, President Biden convened a special virtual climate summit of the 40 largest carbon-emitting nations, setting an example for the world and serving dramatic notice that American leadership is back after four years of abdication under Donald Trump. In setting this ambitious new commitment, Biden is reflecting the clean energy, job creation, and environmental justice goals of his American Jobs Plan, which Congress must now turn into law.

At the outset of the summit, President Biden unveiled his administration’s commitment to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. That’s roughly double the reduction target set by President Barack Obama in 2015 as part of his commitments under the Paris Climate Accord, which we rejoined on Day One of this presidency.

An important endorsement of the president’s clean energy and jobs agenda came this past week from the United Mine Workers, a union long associated with coal. Their support hinges on strong programs to ensure displaced workers get jobs in clean energy and environmental restoration. Luckily, an essential part of the Biden-Harris agenda to restore American leadership on climate action is to pursue a just economic transition with assistance for communities facing the loss of fossil fuel-related jobs, as well as foreign aid for less wealthy countries to cut their emissions and embrace clean energy technology.

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