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Environment

PM must follow Biden’s lead on climate to stop ‘the gravest injustices’

The new President’s quick action on the climate crisis presents “true hope”, the Environmental Justice Foundation said

Boris Johnson must match President Joe Biden’s “political will” to take bold action on the climate crisis, experts have said.

Biden’s commitment to protect at least 30 per cent of US land and ocean areas by 2030 is a source of “true hope”, according to the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF).

“This action is essential to reversing nature’s decline, fighting climate breakdown and protecting millions of people around the world,” EJF executive director Steve Trent said.

“It is vital that the UK Government match this commitment ahead of hosting COP 26 in November this year.”

Biden ordered a stop to most oil and gas drilling on public land, which counts for nearly a quarter of all US greenhouse gas emissions, as well as recommitting to the Paris Agreement.

The US Government’s fleet of vehicles will change to all-electric and Biden promised to prioritise environmental justice. He pledged to protect Black and brown communities from global warming through new funding and policies.

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“We desperately need a unified national response to the climate crisis,” Biden said. The US cannot take effective action alone, he added.

According to the Paris Agreement, global heating must be kept to no hotter than 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures if there is to be hope of halting the climate crisis.

The UK must be carbon neutral by 2042 to have even a 50 per cent chance of doing this, but is currently not on track to meet its own target of net zero by 2050.

The EJF called on the public to pressure politicians into taking the radical action needed to cut emissions urgently.

“By working together as a global community we can still avert the most damning impacts of biodiversity loss and global heating, halt the gravest injustices and the worst violence. But we must act now,” Trent added.

“The way is clear, but our leaders must show true political will and lead – demand that they do so.”

Ministers came under fire for undermining climate targets by approving plans for the first new coal mine in 30 years.

Paul Miner, head of planning at countryside charity CPRE, said all coal mines should be refused under current policy. He said the decision on the West Cumbria project “beggared belief”.

“Not only does coal mining scar the landscape and cause pollution, it further fuels climate and ecological breakdown,” Miner added.

“If the UK is to host COP26 while simultaneously approving coal extraction, we risk becoming an international laughing stock.”

The Prime Minister previously pledged to work closely with Biden’s administration to “do all we can to safeguard our planet”.

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