30 MARCH 2021 /



The US will host a virtual ‘Leaders Summit on Climate Change’ on April 22 and 23, 2021.

The guests at the summit will include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Xi Jinping of China and President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

With the US re-entry into the Paris Agreement on Climate, the summit seeks participation of forty eminent world leaders, thereby keeping the US President Joe Biden’s electoral promise to link climate action to creating jobs and advancing clean technology in the world.

It is also a prelude to the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow in November, 2021.

The US President urged the world leaders to use the Summit as an opportunity to outline how their countries will contribute to stronger climate ambition. The US will announce a new ambitious 2030 emission target as its National Determined Contribution and all signatories of the Paris deal are required to update their targets before the Glasgow conference.

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on Climate change and it was adopted in Paris on 12 December 2015 and became effective on 4 November, 2016.

 Its’ goal is to limit global warming and work on a five year cycle of ambitious climate action by the member countries. The countries have to submit their plans for climate action known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions in order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Also the Agreement invites countries to formulate and submit long term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS) providing a vision and direction for future development.

 A framework for financial, technical and capacity building support to those who need it was also envisaged. The developed countries should take a lead in providing financial assistance and enhance support for capacity-building actions for mitigation as large scale investments are required to reduce the emissions.

The countries established an enhanced transparency framework (ETF) and will report all actions taken and the progress achieved in climate change mitigation and will provide an International Procedure for the review of the submitted Reports.

A “global stock take” will be initiated in 2023 and in every 5 years thereafter to assess a collective progress achieved in attaining the goal.

191 members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are parties to the Agreement and only six member states have not ratified the agreement.

Before the Paris Agreement there existed an international treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol adopted in Kyoto, Japan on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol regulated greenhouse gas reductions for a limited number of countries and later the US decided not to ratify the Protocol.

The 2009 Round of negotiations and the Copenhagen Accord was not at all accepted by the world community.

 But later under the leadership of the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, negotiations regained momentum and laid down the framework for the Paris Agreement.

 However, on 1 June 2017, then US President Donald Trump announced that the US, the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, would cease all participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate change mitigation as it would ‘undermine’ the US economy.

This decision was strongly criticized in the US and abroad by environmentalists and other world leaders.

 Following the US Presidential election in 2020, President elect Joe Biden announced to rejoin the Paris Agreement on his first day in office and signed an executive order to that effect on 20 January, 2021.

 He also declared further plans of US commitments in mitigating Climate change in line with the Paris Agreement.

The Climate Summit will bring US President Joe Biden to meet with Chinese Premier, Xi Jinping and Russian President, Vladimir Putin for the first time since he assumed office.

Our climate is changing at an alarming rate and it is a global danger that can be fought with global action. The recent reports from international climate scientists and the US government have cautioned that even if all climate plans are implemented, temperatures are expected to rise by 3.2 degree Celsius, bringing a wider ranging and more destructive climate impacts.

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