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‘Lofty statements…urgent calls…aspirations’: What to expect from this week’s White House climate summit

By Ben Geman

Get ready for lofty statements, urgent calls for carbon-cutting progress, new pledges — and known unknowns about how much concrete action will follow — at President Biden’s global climate summit this week.

What we’re watching: The White House will showcase a new 2030 U.S. emissions-cutting target and unveil plans for billions of dollars to help developing nations fight climate change, according to Bloomberg.

  • A White House executive order aimed at bolstering U.S. policies on climate-related financial risk could also emerge this week.
  • Outside the U.S., some countries that haven’t yet disclosed revised Paris targets may do it this week (lots of eyes are on Japan) and make other commitments.

Reality check: Emissions targets are simply aspirations, even if they provide some impetus for concrete new policies.

Meanwhile, various companies will unveil new sustainability pledges around the summit and Earth Day, which is Thursday.

  • It’s already starting: Amazon Monday morning announced investments in several new utility-scale wind and solar projects and said it’s now Europe’s largest corporate renewable power buyer,
  • The Wall Street Journal reports BP is vowing to largely end burning of natural gas that’s a byproduct of Permian Basin oil wells.
  • The company plans to spend $1.3 billion on infrastructure to enable the changes, according to the Journal.