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Biden says major economies must accelerate efforts to fight climate change and improve energy security

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WASHINGTON, June 17 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday called on China and other major economies to step up efforts to tackle climate change and improve energy security, warning that the invasion of Ukraine by Russia had reinforced the need for urgent action.

At the third Major Economies Forum (MEF) virtual gathering under his presidency, Biden urged countries to accelerate action to cut methane emissions, adopt ambitious targets for zero-emission vehicles and work to clean up the global shipping.

He also called on countries to spend $90 billion to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies and to develop new fertilizers that reduce agricultural emissions and boost food security.

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“Russia’s brutal and unprovoked assault on the Ukrainian state has fueled a global energy crisis and reinforced the need to achieve reliable long-term energy security and stability,” Biden told leaders at the forum. virtual.

Biden said working together was key to mitigating the fallout from the war, which has driven up global food and energy prices.

Friday’s meeting is the largest gathering of world leaders on climate change ahead of the global climate conference known as COP27, to be held in November in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The White House said Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi would announce at the conference a joint effort to build climate resilience in Africa.

The countries that make up the MEF account for approximately 80% of global economic output and global greenhouse gas emissions.

Several countries were expected to join Biden’s initiatives, while other countries would announce new emissions targets for 2030, the White House said, but did not name them.

‘VERY BRIGHT LIGHT’

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and efforts by Western nations to isolate Moscow with sanctions have sent energy prices soaring and exposed Europe’s huge dependence on Russia for about 40% of the natural gas used to heat its homes and generate electricity.

The crisis has underscored the importance of decarbonizing transportation, rethinking fertilizers and improving energy security, a senior US official said, adding that it had shed a “very bright light on where the solutions lie and what what it takes to get there.”

Biden said the United States would join major gas producers and consumers in launching a “global methane energy pathway” that would provide new technical and financial resources to mitigate methane in the oil and gas sector, while striving to eliminate routine gas flaring by 2030.

Washington planned to spend $21.5 billion on large-scale demonstration projects to achieve net-zero emissions and would urge other countries to contribute to reach the total $90 billion in estimated investment needs, the official said. one of the managers.

Biden, who signed an executive order last year mandating that half of all light-duty vehicles sold in the United States be zero emissions by 2030, urged other countries to follow suit.

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 toward full decarbonization no later than 2050, officials said. White House officials.

Finally, Biden noted the impact of the war in Ukraine on the global food system and set a goal to raise $100 million in new funds for alternative fertilizer development in time for COP27.

Also attending the forum will be leaders from Argentina, Australia, Chile, Canada, European Union, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Norway, Nigeria , South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Great Britain, Vietnam and France. , the White House said.

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Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Robert Birsel and Frances Kerry

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