US President Biden says ‘life of the planet’ at stake in climate crisis

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President Joe Biden told the COP27 conference Friday the “very life of the planet” is at stake in the climate crisis as he gave an assurance that the United States is on track to slash carbon emissions.

“The climate crisis is about human security, economic security, environmental security, national security and the very life of the planet,” he told an audience at the conference in Egypt.

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Biden said the United States is “on track” to achieve its pledge of cutting emissions 50-52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

“The United States will meet our emissions targets,” he said, laying out major legislation passed under his presidency, including the largest ever US government investment in clean energy.

Biden, who was spending only a few hours in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh before travelling on to ASEAN and G20 summits in Asia, challenged other countries to do more to cut carbon emissions in the hope of bringing global warming under control.

“Every nation needs to step up. At this gathering, we must renew and raise our climate ambitions,” he said in a speech that lasted about 22 minutes and was briefly interrupted by unidentified people in the crowd making howling noises.

“It’s a duty and responsibility of global leadership. Countries that are in a position to help should be supporting developing countries so they can make decisive climate decisions – facilitating their energy transitions, building a path to prosperity compatible with our climate imperative.”

In a pointed criticism of the upheaval sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Biden said the conflict gave fresh impetus to the ongoing push to replace oil and gas with renewable sources. As a major energy exporter, Moscow has for years had a strong economic grip on energy poor western Europe.

“Russia’s war only enhances the urgency of the need to transition the world off its dependence on fossil fuels,” Biden said.

As he left the venue to return to Air Force One for the flight to the regional ASEAN summit in Cambodia, reporters asked Biden what would persuade his Republican party opponents to agree to fund expensive climate initiatives.

“Reality,” he said.

Protest takes place during Biden’s COP27 speech

In a related development, protesters stood up and held a sign during Biden’s speech at COP27, a Reuters witness in the room where Biden was speaking said.

Biden’s speech was not interrupted and security guards approached the group of protesters to remove their sign.

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