US says cannot delay 'ambitious' action to protect climate

Washington (AFP) –


Humanity can no longer delay "ambitious" climate action, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday after the release of a landmark UN report warning of growing climate change peril.

Years in the making, the sobering report approved by 195 nations shines a harsh spotlight on governments dithering in the face of mounting evidence that climate change is an existential threat.

"This moment requires world leaders, the private sector and individuals to act together with urgency and do everything it takes to protect our planet," Blinken said in a statement.

"We cannot delay ambitious climate action any longer," he added.

With only 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming so far, an unbroken cascade of deadly, weather disasters bulked up by climate change has swept the world this summer, from asphalt-melting heatwaves in Canada to untamable wildfires sweeping Greece and California.

"We are seeing the detrimental impacts of these events on the lives and livelihoods of people around the world," Blinken said.

"This is why the United States has committed to a 50-52 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels in 2030 and is marshaling the entire federal government to tackle the climate crisis," he added.

President Joe Biden has proclaimed his intention to make the US a leader in the fight against global warming once more, rejoining the Paris climate agreement after his predecessor Donald Trump withdrew and naming former secretary of state John Kerry as his climate envoy.

The Biden administration has also announced $5 billion in public money to help states and local communities prepare for major disasters linked to extreme weather events.

And the Democratic president has been touting the environmental merits of his $1.2 trillion plan to renovate the country's aging infrastructure, which is poised to become law.

According to the White House, the frequency of extreme weather events and climate change-related disasters has exploded in recent years.

Where the US averaged six such major disasters each year between 2000 and 2009, that number has risen to 13 between 2010 and 2020.