American President Joe Biden has committed the US to a 52% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The announcement was made today during the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, on what has been a landmark day in the fight against climate change.

The 52% pledge, a drop from 2005 levels, represents America’s new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), as the Paris commitments are known, which countries are finalising ahead of this year’s COP26 in Glasgow.

Japan showed similar ambition today by setting a new 46% reduction target in emissions by 2030 – from 2013 levels, a sharp rise from its previous goal of 26%. While Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, joined the party by confirming the country’s NDC is to reduce emissions by 45% from its 2005 levels.

In 2018 an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report called for ‘far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society’ to limit global warming to 1.5°C and avert climate disaster. Changes that the global leadership shown today can help pave the way for. Which public activism, especially that shown by younger global citizens, has had a major role in bringing about.

“With the new 2030 NDC targets from the U.S., Japan, and Canada, combined with strong EU and UK action, major economies accounting for more than half of the world’s economy have now committed to the pace of emission reductions required globally to limit warming to 1.5° Celsius,” John Kerry tweeted earlier.

The independent Climate Action Tracker was also pretty bullish about the new targets but cautioned they were ‘not yet 1.5˚C compatible, but well on the way’. For America to get there it says 57-63% will be required, along with similar levels of ambition from all countries.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, UNFCCC, also welcomed the new NDCs and has urged others to follow suit. “I call on all countries – especially other major emitters – to present their 2030 climate plans as soon as possible,” she said.

All eyes will now be on the NDCs countries commit to ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, as they will be of huge importance for people and planet.

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