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Soft power

Momentum is building. Earth Day this week saw world leaders falling over themselves to promise even further cuts to climate emissions in a sign that our leaders are taking this issue seriously.

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Momentum is building.
Momentum is building.

Momentum is building. Earth Day this week saw world leaders falling over themselves to promise even further cuts to climate emissions in a sign that our leaders are taking this issue seriously.

 

In order to get anywhere near the targets we need to hit in order to meet net zero, China and the United States need to be leading the way. US president Joe Biden has doubled down on his ambitious American Jobs Plan, vowing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 50 per cent and 52 per cent by 2030. He was the optimist in the room, saying: “This is a moral imperative, an economic imperative, a moment of peril, but also a moment of extraordinary possibilities. Time is short but I believe we can do this and I believe we will do this.”

Not to be outdone, Chinese president Xi Jinping said it would cut emissions at a must faster rate than other countries. To say that is a must is an understatement given it is the world’s largest carbon polluter.

 

Other countries scrambled to join the optimistic fray. Japan will cut emissions by 46 per cent by 2030; Canada 45 per cent by 2030, an increase on its original 40 per cent target. South Korea also vowed not to spend any more money on coal projects from overseas.

 

What this cavalcade of new targets shows is that countries are realising that taking climate change seriously is also a demonstration of soft power. Given the somewhat frosty relationship between the United States, Russia and China, this is not to be underestimated.

 

But as I wrote last week, there is cause for concern that even these new targets, which must be applauded, are not enough. Even the United States has accepted this. While Biden was the optimistic salesman, it was left to the country’s climate envoy John Kerry to offer a reality check. He said: “Is it enough? No. But it’s the best we can do today and prove we can begin to move.”

 

Elsewhere, we had our latest meeting of SmartCitiesWorld’s Advisory Board this week. We keep full details of the meeting confidential, in order to engender productivity of our decision-making but there are really exciting things we are doing in the months ahead, some of which have a climate focus. Watch this space.

 

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