Crucial in the fight against climate change, renewable energies are also crucial for national security, as shown by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Joe Biden assured a conference of major economies on the subject on Friday. The American president had convened this virtual meeting, bringing together 23 countries but with major absentees, in the midst of an energy crisis.
Biden, in difficulty in the United States in the face of galloping inflation, in particular driven by the rise in fuel prices, has been repeating for weeks that Russia and its invasion of Ukraine are the first responsible for this crisis which has seen its rating. of popularity already at half mast plummeting to new abysses.
Ukraine as an example
“Russia’s brutal and unprovoked attack on neighboring Ukraine has fueled a global energy crisis and made even clearer the need to achieve long-term, reliable energy security,” he said. said at the opening of this forum to which he invited the main economies of the world but in which neither India, a major emitter, nor Russia participate.
And, a new illustration of the diplomatic difficulties complicating international cooperation in the fight against the climate crisis, China is represented there only by its envoy on the climate, and not by its president Xi Jinping, specified the White House.
Objectives not incompatible
Saying he fears that the objectives of limiting global warming “are beyond our reach”, Joe Biden warned on Friday that “the window for action is (closing) quickly”. Despite the apparent contradiction between current attempts to increase hydrocarbon production to lower costs at the pump and the need to fight the climate crisis, the American leader assured that these objectives, as well as that of putting a end to dependence on Russian gas and oil exports, were not necessarily incompatible.
This is the third time Joe Biden has convened the Major Economies Climate and Energy Forum (MEF). This conference “is part of the President’s efforts to use all the means at his disposal to tackle the global climate crisis, urgently respond to the rising prices exacerbated by the Russian war in Ukraine and put the United States and its allies on the path to sustainable energy and food security,” an American official explained shortly before. It was to be the largest meeting on the subject of leaders before the next UN climate conference in November in Egypt.
” Revolution “
Also invited, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched an all-out attack on the fossil fuel industry, accusing it of holding “humanity by the throat” and of having “exploited the same outrageous tactics the tobacco industry decades ago. “I am counting on your governments to put an end to the era of fossil fuels. The renewable energy revolution starts now,” the UN chief told leaders attending the summit.
A call that may come up against the difficult economic reality for Joe Biden: Americans currently pay an average of $5 per gallon (3.78 liters) of gasoline, compared to $3 a year earlier, a catastrophic configuration for the Democrat. a few months before crucial elections.
Reducing emissions is crucial
During a previous edition of the MEF in September 2021, the United States and the European Union had promised to reduce their emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas, and this commitment had been taken up at COP26 by 115 countries. but not by China, Russia, or India.
A reduction in methane emissions, responsible for around 30% of global warming, is crucial to help meet the Paris Agreement targets of limiting warming to well below +2°C above pre-industrial era, if possible +1.5°C.