UN Secretary-General António Guterres kicked off the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday by asking world leaders to take “decisive action now to avert climate catastrophe.” US President Joe Biden responded, in his first speech delivered to heads of states from member states at the forum on Tuesday, with an update on the US’ global climate financing.

Common action is needed to combat climate change, he explained. After committing $5.7 billion in global climate financing in April, the US will increase its contribution to around $11 billion per year to make the US “the leader in public climate finance,” Biden said

Despite Biden’s claims, US allies like the European Union are still contributing more to the climate effort, according to CNN. While some environmental groups welcomed the pledge as a start, many climate advocates said it doesn’t go far enough, according to Reuters

The president pledged to work with Congress to double support again for climate mitigation and adaptation in low-income countries that are disproportionately impacted. Congressional Democrats are in the process of writing Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget bill, which includes the majority of the Biden administration’s spending for climate and clean energy programs. 

Biden is confident that with increased private capital and with help from other donors, it will be possible to mobilize the $100 billion needed annually to support climate actions in low-income countries, he said. Wealthy countries have not made substantial progress toward their 2009 pledge to deliver $100 billion to low-income countries to tackle climate change each year. Wealthy countries only contributed $79.6 billion in 2019, around $20 billion short of the $100 billion annual goal. 

As part of Global Citizen Live, a campaign to defend the planet and defeat poverty under the umbrella of our year-long Recovery Plan for the World, Global Citizen has called on the Biden administration to increase US climate financing by committing to reaching $40 billion per year through financing from the public and private sectors. 

Biden is also pushing for billions of dollars to ramp up renewable energy and a new clean electricity program to decarbonize power in the US. At the UN General Assembly, he stressed his confidence in green infrastructure and electric vehicles to help meet the US’ climate goals.

Earlier this year, the US officially rejoined the Paris climate agreement, calling for international cooperation to limit global temperatures to reduce emissions caused by greenhouse gases. The Biden administration also announced the US would aim to cut emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030. 

US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry said he has hope that the UN will reach its global climate financing commitment by the COP26 international climate summit in Glasgow in November. 

Further pandemics are a threat to the world if the international community doesn’t band together against pollution, Biden explained. 

"Will we meet the threat of challenging climate, the challenging climate we're all feeling, already ravaging every part of our world with extreme weather? Or will we suffer the merciless march of ever-worsening droughts and floods, more intense fires and hurricanes, longer heat waves, and rising seas?" Biden said.

You can join the Global Citizen Live campaign to defend the planet and defeat poverty by taking action here, and become part of a movement powered by citizens around the world who are taking action together with governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make change.


Defend the Planet

US President Joe Biden Pledges to Double Climate Financing for Poor Countries

By Leah Rodriguez