Aside from having the finger pointed at it by developing nations, the Biden administration is facing challenges in delivering its headline climate ambitions due to opposition from within.
Leaders from across the globe have been urging policymakers and business decision-makers to heed the findings of hundreds of climate scientists who have called for accelerating efforts to stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and to finance activities that would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide.
Republicans and some Democrats, including coal baron Joe Manchin, have forced President Joe Biden to scale back funding for his ‘Build Back Better’ bill, which included some necessary action to diminish the climate crisis.
A looming Supreme Court case could strip the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the future, following years of legal campaigning from similar factions.
UN climate talks in Germany closed without a formal agreement, with developing nations expressing “disappointment” and “regret” that EU member states and other wealthy nations were unwilling to show strong ambition on international finance and loss and damage.
The EU and the US have stated that funding of $100 billion per year should be channeled through existing pathways but developing nations want a specific funding facility, and for additional money to be provided to make up for historic underpayments.
The talks are regarded as a major milestone on the road to COP27 in Egypt in November.
At present, there is no requirement for a formal decision on loss and damage financing to be made at any COP before 2024. Developing nations want such a requirement added to this year’s agenda.
Before the dust could settle on Bonn, Biden hosted the Major Economies’ Forum on Energy and Climate on Friday (17 June), with world leaders convening online.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was notably absent – he chose to have COP26 President Alok Sharma attend in his place as he prepared for sinus surgery on Monday (20 June).
The other nations represented were Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also joined the call.
A major climate science report published in February confirmed that 3.3 billion people globally are already “highly vulnerable” to physical climate impacts, warning that unprecedented action would be needed to give these communities the prospect of a “liveable” future by 2050.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the Sixth Assessment from Working Group 2, which forecasts how, at a range of warming trajectories, physical climate impacts will materialize in terms of the economy, nature, and human health.
The findings have been described as the most granular yet, with the IPCC able to provide detailed forecasts that are specific to continents and even nations and regions.
The report has also been described as the most harrowing yet by the global body, which convened more than 250 scientists for the assessment.
Ultimately, the report predicts that no place on Earth will avoid all climate risks in the long, medium and even short term.
It outlines how the most vulnerable communities and ecosystems, including coastal communities, small island states, and places already grappling with food and water insecurity, will be the worst hit.