WASHINGTON, June 17 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday will urge China and other major economies to ramp up their efforts to combat climate change by cutting methane emissions, adopting ambitious targets for zero-emission vehicles and cleaning up shipping.
At the third virtual gathering of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) under his presidency, Biden will also call on countries to spend $90 billion to speed commercialization of clean technologies, and to develop new fertilizers that cut agricultural emissions and boost food security, senior U.S. officials told reporters.
Friday’s meeting will be the largest gathering of world leaders on climate change before the November global climate conference known as COP27 to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
The White House said Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will announce a joint effort to build climate resilience in Africa, while other countries were slated to join in several initiatives to reduce emissions.
The countries that make up the MEF account for roughly 80% of global economic output and global greenhouse gas emissions.
Several countries were expected to announce new 2030 emissions targets under the Paris climate agreement, the White House said, but did not name them.
The gathering comes at a critical juncture, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine having driven energy prices sharply higher and exposing Europe’s huge dependence on Russia for about 40% of the natural gas used to heat its homes and generate electricity.
The war in Ukraine has underscored the importance of decarbonizing transport, rethinking fertilizer and improving energy security, a senior U.S. official said.
“It’s … shown a very bright light on where the solutions are, and what it takes to get there,” the official said.
Officials said the United States and other major gas producers and consumers would launch a “global methane energy pathway” that would provide fresh technical and financial resources to mitigate methane in the oil and gas sector, while working to eliminate routine gas flaring no later than 2030.
Washington planned to spend $21.5 billion on large-scale demonstration projects to achieve net-zero emissions and would urge other countries to chip in to reach the total $90 billion in estimated investment needs, one of the officials said.
Biden, who last year signed an executive order mandating that half of all light-duty vehicles sold in the United States be zero-emission by 2030, would call on other leaders to match that target, officials said.
The United States and Norway would also launch a green shipping challenge for COP27 to encourage governments, ports and cargo owners to come up with concrete steps towards full decarbonization no later than 2050, they said.
Finally, Biden would address the “devastating effect” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the global food system and set a goal of raising $100 million in new funding for development of alternative fertilizers by COP27, the White House said.
Also participating in the forum will be leaders from Argentina, Australia, Chile, Canada, the European Union, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Norway, Nigeria, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Britain, Vietnam and France, the White House said.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Robert Birsel)