GCCM statement on President Biden’s climate commitments

April 26, 2021

GCCM celebrates U.S. President Joe Biden’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but recognizes that focused action is needed.President Joe Biden campaigns in 2019. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

U.S. President Joe Biden has announced a U.S. commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the next decade. GCCM celebrates his announcement.

U.S. leadership is absolutely needed to avoid the worst of the climate catastrophe. The world will keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius only if the U.S. sets big goals like this, bringing tremendous ambition and leadership to the challenges we share.

As Pope Francis said, the Leaders Summit on Climate hosted President Biden “sets us all on the path, the whole of humanity through its leaders. It puts us on the road, in a practical sense, towards [COP26 in Glasgow], but in an even more concrete way, to take charge of the care of nature, of this gift we have received and which we must care for, preserve and carry forward.”

Setting a big goal is a good start. But GCCM knows that action will be needed to achieve that big goal.

Ambitious leadership from the U.S. at the upcoming climate and biodiversity summits, COP26 and COP15, will be a way for President Biden to put into action what he has pledged.

Ambition at both summits is a way to embrace the reality that the biodiversity crisis and the climate emergency are one of the same, that we cannot solve one without addressing the other.

The health of our lands and waters is inextricably linked with the climate. Vibrant forests and grasslands store carbon. A stable climate protects vulnerable species. Holistic action will be needed to achieve the new big U.S. goals.

The leadership of frontline communities should be at the center, as these communities’ expertise and knowledge are critical to navigating the next decade together.

Communities should be supported by a reinvigorated economy, one that steers away from polluting industries and protects the dignity of all.

This takes on even greater meaning as the world and all of creation continues to suffer from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that you do not come out of a crisis the same: you either come out better or worse,” Pope Francis said. “Our concern is to see that the environment is cleaner, purer and preserved. And to take care of nature so that it takes care of us.”

We hope and pray that President Biden’s big dreams will become a reality.

Leadership from frontline communities, a new economy that supports millions of safe and clean jobs, and real action on the holistic challenges we face will get us there.