Joe Biden at COP27: what did US president say about net zero and Global Methane Pledge - protest explained

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The US President travelled to Egypt following the US midterm elections to update world leaders and delegates on his country’s climate pledges

Joe Biden appeared for a keynote speech at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt. The US President travelled to Sharm el-Sheikh to make new climate promises and update on his country’s promises made at the COP26 conference in Glasgow last year.

The conference has already seen world leaders such as Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron visit. Sunak gave a speech to the conference on day one, in which he said it was “morally right” for the UK to commit to the climate promises it has already made.

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The UN has warned that not enough is being done by developed nations to offset the effects of climate change and the worsening climate crisis. The organisation has already warned that the aim to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees is already out of reach.

Biden took to the stage to further commit to the US’s climate pledges. This includes a target for net zero and backing the Global Methane Pledge.

However, his speech was interrupted by climate protesters. Here’s what you need to know about Biden’s COP27 speech.

What did Joe Biden say during his COP27 speech?

Beginning his speech, Biden spoke of the role of John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. Kerry was appointed to the role in January 2021, with Biden saying that he has made “incredible progress on climate issues”.

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Biden’s presidential policy has sought to reverse many of the moves made by his predecessor Donald Trump. This includes re-entering into the Paris Climate Agreement, which Trump had withdrawn the US from in November 2020, with Biden signing an executive order on his first day in office to rejoin.

He told the conference that his administration’s commitment to climate policy went further, introducing the Inflation Reduction Act. The legislation included support for clean energy solutions including offshore wind and solar energy. However Biden admitted that it “included less than I asked for”.

Joe Biden has said that the US is on track to meet its net zero target by 2030 during a speech at COP27. (Credit: Getty Images)Joe Biden has said that the US is on track to meet its net zero target by 2030 during a speech at COP27. (Credit: Getty Images)
Joe Biden has said that the US is on track to meet its net zero target by 2030 during a speech at COP27. (Credit: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

One of the biggest announcements from Biden’s speech included his pledge that the US is on track to reach its emissions target by 2030. He said: "The sum total of the actions my administration is taking puts the United States on track to achieve our Paris Agreement goal of reducing emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030.”

He addressed the climate-specific legislation, the first of its kind in the US since 1986, adding: "Today, thanks to the actions we have taken, I can stand here as president of the United States of America and say with confidence the US will meet our emissions targets by 2030.” Although he also addressed the UN’s stark warnings, insisting that the country was not “ignoring the harbingers that are already here."

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Biden also hailed the Global Methane Pledge, a joint initiative by the US and the EU to cut methane emissions by 30%. More than 130 countries have now signed up to the pledge, with the president telling delegates in Sharm el-Sheikh that the gas accounts for almost half of global warming. He added: “[Methane is] 80 times more potent than carbon.”

What was the protest about?

During his speech, President Biden was interrupted by climate protesters who had made their way into the crowd. The demonstrations stood up during his speech and held a banner which denounced the use of fossil fuels.

Protesters interrupted Joe Biden’s COP27 speech. (Credit: Getty Images)Protesters interrupted Joe Biden’s COP27 speech. (Credit: Getty Images)
Protesters interrupted Joe Biden’s COP27 speech. (Credit: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Biden paused his speech while the protest took place. Demonstrators also shouted and chanted as they held the banner up.

The US President continued with his speech as the group, which has not yet been identified to be a part of any official activist organisation, were escorted out of the venue by security staff. Protests at the Egypt edition of the climate conference have been cracked down on, with additional security measures in place, so it is not known how the group gained access to the conference hall.

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