Joe Biden's climate change pledge will help to get world moving in right direction – Scotsman comment

When the US President speaks, the words echo all over the world.

Boris Johnson and Joe Biden, on screen, take part in the opening session of the virtual summit on climate change organised by the US President (Picture: Justin Tallis/pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Joe Biden’s promise that the US will cut carbon emissions by about twice as much as previously planned by the end of this decade is a rallying cry. It will be answered by countries whose governments similarly realise the importance of the fight against climate change, and also by those who understand the value of staying in Washington’s good books.

Boris Johnson has just increased the UK’s target to cut carbon emissions to 78 per cent of 1990 levels by 2035. Would this have happened if the coal-loving, climate change-sceptic Donald Trump was still in the White House and therefore the person to whom the UK would have to go, cap in hand, seeking an all-important post-Brexit trade deal?

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Johnson described Biden’s announcement as “game-changing” and spoke of “building back greener” in the wake of the Covid crisis.

Both leaders’ comments are a further signal to the business world – investors in particular – about the direction of travel over what Biden called a “decisive decade” if we are to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

It is clearer than ever what the future is going to be like and there will be much money to be made – and many jobs to be created – for businesses that jump at the array of new opportunities.

Biden’s focus on climate change – the most pressing issue facing humanity bar none – also means that the United Nations’ Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow later this year could become as important and historic as the one that led to the 2016 Paris Agreement.

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