Biden advances climate agenda at Leader’s Summit

In late April, President Biden hosted his Leader’s Summit on Climate, bringing together 40 heads of state and global leaders from governments, indigenous communities, business and non-governmental organizations to affirm the need for “unprecedented global cooperation” to tackle the climate crisis. Already, the U.S. has rejoined the Paris Agreement. At the Summit, Biden announced the U.S. also will target reducing emissions by 50-52 percent (compared to 2005 levels) by the end of 2030 with a “clean energy revolution that will create good-paying, union jobs.” The president further reaffirmed his campaign commitment to achieve net-zero emissions – or carbon neutrality – by 2050.

Japan and Canada also announced new emissions targets at the Summit. Japan will reduce emissions by at least 46 percent (compared to 2013 levels) and Canada will reduce emissions by 40 to 45 percent (compared to 2005 levels).

Working toward a global goal

Summit discussions were aligned with the goal of the Paris Agreement to keep the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels to reduce the risks and effects of climate change. The 189 parties to the Agreement also committed to pursue efforts to further limit the increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F) for an even great impact. Only Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Turkey and Yemen, which together represent just 3.64 percent of global emissions, have yet to ratify the accord. For comparison, the U.S., at 13 percent, is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gasses (GHGs), after China.

According to Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, to achieve environmental justice and equity, the U.S. particularly needs to rely on the 20 most developed countries that equal 81 percent of all emissions. Meeting the emission targets “will require mobilizing finances at an absolutely unprecedented level and will require governments to help facilitate the net-zero transition around the world.” Summit attendees added that international goals also will require collaboration with the business community and finance sector.

States continue to drive carbon neutrality

While the federal government evaluates how best to achieve the administration’s emissions goals, governors from 24 states and Puerto Rico, representing 55 percent of the U.S. population, continue accelerating the deployment of climate solutions consistent with the Paris Agreement via the United States Climate Alliance (USCA). The USCA focuses on seven priority sectors. Those that most directly impact NAFEM members are product-specific energy-efficiency standards and reducing short-lived climate pollutants, like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

What can members expect?

Change is coming to the energy industry that will profoundly impact the commercial foodservice equipment industry,” said Frank Johnson, Ph.D., research and development manager, residential and commercial foodservice, GTI. “Many existing technologies are not designed to meet future efficiency and emissions goals associated with reduced GHG emissions. The technologies that do exist usually come with a cost premium that is difficult for restaurants to absorb. With changes to the energy supply chain such as renewable electricity, renewable natural gas and hydrogen blending, the key will be developing cost-effective technologies and educating foodservice professionals on how to efficiently and safely use energy to cook food, light dining rooms and maintain a comfortable temperature for customers.”