ECONOMY

Biden Offers Rare Praise for Russia’s Putin: Climate Update

Day two of President Joe Biden’s international climate summit commences on Friday. Biden pledged during the first day of the virtual event to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade, part of a plan to bring the U.S. back into the global fight against climate change.

Day two will focus on innovation and the economic opportunity in fighting climate change. This is designed to refute skepticism from some blue-collar workers and labor leaders. While renewable energy jobs are growing at a fast clip, labor groups say they pay less than fossil-fuel positions and that companies have opposed unionization.

Speakers on Friday include U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg.

President Biden Praises Putin on Call for Carbon Dioxide Removal (10:10 a.m.)

President Joe Biden on Friday offered rare praise to his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin for his comments the previous day, calling for the world to collaborate on advanced carbon dioxide removal.

“I’m very heartened by President Putin’s call yesterday for the world to collaborate on advanced carbon dioxide removal and the United States looks forward to working with Russia and other countries in that endeavor. It has great promise,” Biden said at the White House on the second day of the virtual climate summit.

The two leaders have had a frosty relationship. But Biden’s administration has stressed that it’s open to working with Russia on shared goals.

Putin on Thursday said, “it is no secret that the conditions that facilitated global warming and associated problems go way back.”

“Carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years,” Putin said. “So it’s not enough to tackle the issue of new emissions. It is also important to take up the task of absorbing the CO2 that has accumulated in the atmosphere.”

Biden, who is pushing a $2 trillion infrastructure package, focused heavily in his remarks Friday on the potential of creating new jobs in a clean energy economy.

“This is a moment for all of us to build better economies for our children and our grandchildren,” Biden said. — Mario Parker

Net Zero World by 2050 Will Require Technology Not Yet Available (10:06 a.m.)

The growing push for nations to completely eliminate carbon from their economies by mid-century will depend heavily on technology that isn’t yet widely available.

Even as countries significantly expand renewable energy installations, the world is also going to need battery storage, hydrogen, synthetic fuels, carbon-capture systems and other emerging technologies, said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.

That will present opportunities for companies that can commercialize these much-needed technologies, and shows why President Joe Biden and other leaders have been focusing on the potential financial returns of the green transition.

“About half the reductions to get to net zero in 2050 will need to come from technologies that are not yet ready for market today,” said Birol. “Reaching net zero will triple clean-energy investment opportunities over the next decade.” — Will Wade

Kenya Calls for Investment into Geothermal in Clean Energy Push (9:55 a.m.)

Biden Offers Rare Praise for Russia’s Putin: Climate Update

Kenya is wooing investors to tap its vast geothermal resources to produce electricity as part of plans to make its grid 100% renewable energy from the current 90%, president Uhuru Kenyatta said at the summit.

“Our geothermal potential is great and the amount currently tapped is less than 10% and this presents huge investment opportunities across the technology value chain as well as huge opportunities for employment of young Africans across our country,” Kenyatta said in a virtual address from Nairobi. “The better off countries, working in collaboration with private sectors should support developing countries secure financial resources required to implement climate adaptation programs.”

Kenya commits to reduce emissions by 32% by 2030 and targets 100% clean cooking by 2028, ahead of the 2030 UN target. Kenyatta said 80% of households depend on biomass for cooking. — David Herbling

UAE Strikes Deal for Global Agriculture Innovation (9:51 a.m.)

The United Arab Emirates has reached a deal with the U.S., Israel, Denmark, Brazil and other nations to accelerate global agricultural innovations and research to fight climate change.

The five-year initiative, the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate, will also help deliver jobs and enhance economic growth, UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said at the summit.

“The UAE is considered to be the first in the Middle East to pioneer Carbon capture and storage technologies, and our oil sector is considered to be the lowest carbon emitter in the world,” the sheikh said. “Climate change is not a temporary concern, it is rather a global challenge.” — Abeer Abu Omar

Gates Says Cost of Green Energy Must Come Down (9:39 a.m.)

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates said clean power’s biggest problem boils down to cost.

“Almost all of our zero-carbon technologies are more expensive than their fossil fuel counterparts” Gates said. “To provide all the benefits of the modern lifestyle to people around the world, we need new, zero-carbon products that are just as affordable — that have what I call a green premium of zero.”

Gates is candid about the scale of the challenge. It will be hard to drive the creation of “breakthrough technologies that allow us to eliminate emissions throughout the physical economy, he said, “but we can do it if we invest in innovation and build the infrastructure for the transition to a clean economy.”

Gates said that means tapping the power of markets to fund and deploy these innovations, including “by finding creative ways to finance technologies and by leveling the paying field so they can compete with fossil fuels.” Gates himself launched Breakthrough Energy Ventures in 2017 with the goal of investing in early-stage climate startups. — by Jennifer A. Dlouhy

Biden Offers Rare Praise for Russia’s Putin: Climate Update

U.S. Seeks to Drive 80% Cut in Cost of Hydrogen (8:58 a.m.)

The U.S. will set a goal of reducing the cost of renewable hydrogen by 80% by 2030 making it competitive with natural gas, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.

Energy companies and others are increasingly eyeing hydrogen as a possible carbon-free fuel, and it is seen as a clean solution for fueling cars, trucks and ships as well as heating buildings, though the cost of producing it remains a barrier.

The agency also plans to reduce the cost of carbon capture, industrial fuels and energy storage and “slash battery cell prices in half,” Granholm said.

“This is our generation’s moonshot,” Granholm said. “Going big on our ambitions means that we’re going to create jobs for millions of people.” — Ari Natter

Cities, Businesses ‘Hold the Key’ to Fighting Climate Change (8:25 a.m.)

Biden Offers Rare Praise for Russia’s Putin: Climate Update

While much of the summit has focused on the world leaders who are participating, Michael Bloomberg, United Nations special envoy on climate ambition and solutions, stressed the role of businesses and cities in curbing emissions.

In the past four years, as the federal government under President Donald Trump turned away from policies to curb emissions, corporations and local governments stepped up their efforts in the U.S. That’s shown that policies that cover smaller entities can still have a big impact of reducing greenhouse gases.

“Cities and businesses hold the key to defeating climate change,” Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, said. “They are responsible for the vast majority of emissions.” (Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, has committed $500 million to launch Beyond Carbon, a campaign aimed at closing the remaining coal-powered plants in the U.S. by 2030 and slowing the construction of new gas plants.) — Will Wade

Biden Offers Rare Praise for Russia’s Putin: Climate Update

Kerry Cites ‘Historic’ Economic Opportunities (8:23 a.m.)

The first day of President Joe Biden’s climate summit focused on driving more carbon cuts, with warnings about the consequences of inaction. Day two is about proving that action is in everyone’s best economic interest too.

“The world’s largest market in history is opening before our own eyes right now,” Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said at the start of the summit Friday. “And it’s going to create millions of high-quality, good-paying jobs around the world, especially in countries that seize this agenda.”“Today is going to be about that vision,” and about the “remarkable economic opportunity” that springs from climate action, Kerry said. “We’re going to hear from governments, entrepreneurs, communities and labor leaders about how they see the future.” — Jennifer A. Dlouhy

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