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Allison Jorge Sánchez

Climate Summit 2021: challenges and commitments

- For some countries, the climate change emergency is taken seriously, with forceful actions, but this is not the case in Mexico.

Climate Summit 2021: challenges and commitments

… those who do take action and make bold investments in their people and clean energy future will win the good jobs of tomorrow, and make their economies more resilient and more competitive”.

Joe Biden, Remarks by President Biden at the Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate Opening Session

On April 22 and 23, the Leaders Summit on Climate Change was held. The objective? Strengthen and accelerate the commitments adopted by the countries to achieve neutrality in carbon emissions by 2050, this as a prelude to the discussions of the COP 26 that will be held in Glasgow, United Kingdom in November of this year.

It was repeatedly highlighted that the emergency lies in having a joint action and with it the economic benefits of transitioning to this type of economy, the leaders of the countries (more than 40 guests) whose emissions reach 80% were invited; in addition to heads of state who are showing leadership, are vulnerable to climate impacts, or are migrating to an emissions-free economy; although minimal, businessmen and civil society also participated (among them the activist Xiye Bastida, known as "Greta Thunberg of America"). [1]

The key actions of the conference were:

  • Focus efforts to reduce emissions during this critical decade to keep a warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.
  • Mobilize financing from the public and private sectors to drive the net-zero transition and help vulnerable countries cope with climate impacts.
  • Raise the economic benefits of climate action, with a strong emphasis on job creation, and the importance of ensuring that all communities and workers benefit from the transition to a new clean energy economy.
  • Stimulate transformative technologies that can help reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.
  • Show subnational and non-state actors that they are committed to ecological recovery.
  • Discuss opportunities to strengthen capacity to protect lives and livelihoods in the aftermath of climate change impacts, address global security challenges posed by climate change and impact in preparedness, and address the role of nature-based solutions to achieve net zero targets by 2050. [2]

What did the United States commit to?

The maximum commitment was to reduce, by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions between 50% and 52%. Biden mentioned that to reach that goal it is necessary to create more jobs in technology and clean energy. However, within the government, the Republicans argue that migrating to a sustainable economy will destroy thousands of jobs linked to fossil fuels, this being one of the arguments against Biden's plan.

In earlier days, Biden proposed an infrastructure bill that calls for $1 trillion in clean energy spending, including 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles, the expansion of solar and wind power as well as technology to capture and store carbon from plants that will emit. Part of this budget includes earmarking for the production of electric cars, trucks and buses, modernizing the electrical grid and infrastructure that is more resistant to weather volatility.[3]

And the rest of the invited countries, what did they commit to and what are they doing today?

According to the White House statement, the following are some of the countries that have expressed their intention to combat climate change:


Canada will strengthen its nationally determined contributions to reduce its emissions between 40-45% compared to their 2005 levels by 2030. In his speech, he highlighted that investment in public transport, clean energy, adaptation of homes and decarbonization such as steel, cement and aluminum have been important to achieve the objectives. It was also mentioned that 30% of the oceans and territories have been protected, single-use plastics have been banned and around 2 billion trees have been planted. [4]


Japan will cut its emissions between 46% and 50% by 2030 compared to its 2013 levels. In October 2020, the Prime Minister declared that it sought to achieve zero carbon neutrality by 2050. Although there is no precise schedule, within these actions include promoting the use of renewable energy and nuclear energy (by 2030 more than 20% of the country's energy needs must be covered). [5]


India is one of the few countries that is on track to meet one of the goals set out in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which is to have 40% of its energy sources be renewable by 2030. This has entailed massive public investments and private in solar energy. [6] In the same way, he highlighted that during the Summit the Climate and Clean Energy Association of the 2030 Agenda was launched between the United States and India seeking to mobilize investments, allow ecological collaborations; he also seeks that other partners can create sustainable development templates and other developing countries can have affordable access to green financing and green technologies. Prime Minister Modi stressed that India is a vast market for clean energy, already being the third largest producer of electricity worldwide. [7]


China indicated that it will join the Kigali Amendment, which will allow it to strengthen control of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, strictly control coal-fired power generation projects, and gradually reduce coal consumption. It promised in September 2020 that it would also increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25% by 2030, up 5% from its previous commitments. [8]


Brazil committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, as well as eliminating illegal deforestation by 2030. Similarly, he recalled that the country has one of the cleanest energy matrixes in the world with investments in wind, solar and ethanol; In parallel, it will seek to improve the lives of more than 23 million Brazilians who live in the Amazon, who have one of the worst human development indices. It should be noted that days after this Summit, Bolsonaro approved cutting the budget of the Ministry of the Environment and that he has been the one who has encouraged agriculture and mining in the Amazon. [9]


Russia stressed the importance of carbon capture and storage from all sources, as well as removal of atmospheric carbon. He made a call to highlight the importance of methane, asking for collaboration to address this powerful greenhouse gas, for this he offers a series of joint projects and proposes the consideration of various preferences of foreign companies that wish to invest in clean technologies. He stressed that Russia is working on the implementation of modern legislation that enforces its goals of reducing greenhouse gases to ensure that by 2030 the reduction is up to 70% of emissions compared to 1990. [10]

United Arab Emirates

The central argument of the United Arab Emirates was that climate change is an opportunity to promote green energy, which is why they seek to be leaders in this sector. In parallel and considering the strengths of their country, they have promoted various campaigns in the interior to raise awareness about how human behavior contributes to damaging the environment, from deforestation, transportation to livestock. [eleven]

Although the UAE is an oil-exporting country, it operates two of the world's largest solar plants and is about to start a third, even larger one; They also invest in renewable projects in 70 countries around the world. One of the major initiatives was the launch of the mission on innovation in agriculture in collaboration with the United States, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Israel, Singapore and Uruguay, whose objective is to seek to increase and accelerate research and development of global innovation in agriculture. and food systems in support of climate. [12]

What did the countries of the Pacific Alliance say?

President Sebastián Piñera's plan is to turn Chile into a leader in green hydrogen. For this, he promised to harmonize the energy matrix before 2040. As part of his achievements in the matter, he has protected 43% of its marine areas as protected areas. and made the invitation to protect the entire sea around Antarctica given its great biodiversity.

On the part of Colombia, President Iván Duque seeks to reduce emissions by up to 51% by 2020 and become a carbon neutral country by 2050. By August 2022, he expects to reach 14% of the transition and seek a clean transport fleet using electric urban vehicles. [13]

On the other hand, Peru made the commitment to reduce emissions by up to 40% by 2030 and reach 100% in solid waste management in 2021. One of the most complex tasks is to avoid the installation of human settlements in inadequate places together with the adequate management of the basins to avoid the waste of water. [14]

And Mexico?

Andrés Manuel López Obrador participated from his daily morning conference, during the participation of other leaders he simply turned off his camera and continued with the items on his agenda. Why didn't he skip his morning lecture? He himself has mentioned that to have the best foreign policy it will always be the internal one, for this internal stability and justice are needed, at least his priority will be to attend to domestic affairs. [fifteen]

Andrés Manuel López Obrador's speech was focused on the need to expand the Sembrando Vida program, he directly asked President Joe Biden to finance the reforestation plan for more than 3 billion trees in the southeastern region of Mexico and in Central American countries to address migration and defend the national production of oil and gasoline for domestic demand; The day before, the White House had already rejected the proposal because it is not part of the United States' climate agenda and migration was not a topic in that forum.

This message, for some heads of state, was classified as lacking in ambition and irrelevant, even for the international press. Some media such as the BBC and Reuters published headlines such as: “visas in exchange for trees”. Unlike the speeches of other countries, Andrés Manuel López Obrador did not commit himself in any way to reduce carbon emissions or promote the transition to clean energy. This is another sign of Mexico's lack of cooperation with other nations, as well as the loss of its position on the international scene. [16]

To conclude, remember that Mexico is a signatory to the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda with its 17 millennium development goals. The President of Mexico has challenged the global consensus to combat climate change and the transition to clean energy; The current government continues with the idea of using fossil fuels, as it is proposed in its transformation plan and has openly confirmed that "theirs is not the issue of climate change or getting along with other rulers." [17]


    [1] “President Biden invites 40 World Leaders to leaders Summit on Climate”. The White House. 26 de marzo 2021. Revisado el 1 de mayo 2021.

    [2] “Leaders Summit on Climate: Day 1”. U.S. Departmen of State. 22 de abril 2021. Revisado el 1 de mayo de 2021.

    [3] Matthew Daily y Christina Larson. “Cumbre muestra la visión de Biden para la lucha climática”. Los Angeles Times. 24 de abril 2021. Revisado el 1 de mayo 2021.

    [4] Paloma Martínez. “Trudeau quiere que otros países sigan ejemplo de Canadá en lucha contra cambio climático. Radio Canadá Internacional. 22 de abril 2021.

    [5] “Cambio Climático: Japón se compromete a lograr la neutralidad cero de carbono para 2050”. Argentina Forestal. 26 de octubre 2020. Revisado el 3 de mayo 2021.

    [6] Carlos Santamaría. “Un esfuerzo global que pagan los de siempre: India exige justicia climática”. El Confidencial. 25 de abril 2021. Revisado el 3 de mayo de 2021.

    [7] “Primer Ministro Modi anuncia la colaboración entre India y Estados Unidos en materia de clima y energía limpia”. Azeertag. 23 de abril 2021. Revisado el 3 de mayo 2021.–BeLMe-3NGxFq71dTk5g5W_PuAxSsF88-_vzczhRrtjYHF3A9rSmX0d5T6HUyx1MPl0_qzObScu50PcAVpxmQoi7mk_FabmanyB2cn-5eA8IkhF7Xg9mqu2cnfpQ7NmAOQfEQyD8fXXLezNOSMHU-1TJ9csnpj_uGrqVkWm2tP-edXBQcYvpyizs7hqQSypaRwA4p78t2bSZTaRJRFvAEkP49BiMnUhwW3X46ieh_UdXoLYLGLNacx1L7tss–39HjcFq-GESkZTWEbT51x58yVFknlJYqE_m3rQPprDa9apFcOzVzGBKnLa9RA2YJq3wq5WlYSfZmRrdA

    [8] “China ratifica sus metas en lucha contra cambio climático”. Prensa Latina. 22 abril 2021. Revisado el 03 de mayo 2021.

    [9] “Brasil recorta su presupuesto ambiental a pesar de las promesas hechas en la cumbre sobre el clima”. BBC News. 24 de abril 2021. Revisado el 3 de mayo 2021.

    [10] Alexei Druzhinin. “Putin propone en la cumbre del clima cooperación internacional para controlar todas las emisiones”. 22 abril 2021. Revisado el 03 de mayo 2021.

    [11] “Emiratos busca concienciar sobre el impacto del cambio climático”. Rabiya Jaffery. 23 de octubre 2018. Revisado el 3 de mayo 2021.

    [12] “Próximo lanzamiento de Misión de Innovación Agricola para el Clima”. SENASICA. 23 de abril 2021. Revisado el 3 de mayo 2021.,ser%C3%A9%20en%20noviembre%20de%202021

    [13] Yvette Sierra Praeli. “Cumbre sobre el clima: ¿qué hay dentrás de los compromisos de los líderes mundiales para reducir emisiones al 2030?”. Mongabay. 27 de abril 2021. Revisado el 3 de mayo de 2021.

    [14] “Congreso Gobierno Perú, “Perú asume compromisos al 2021 para mitigar cambio climático”. Congreso de la República. Revisado el 3 de mayo 2021.,ha%20trazado%20el%20Per%C3%BA%20para

    [15] Redacción Animal Político. “AMLO sigue con su conferencia e ignora cumbre climática; pide a Biden invertir en Sembrando Vida”. Animal Político. 22 de abril 2021. Revisado el 3 de mayo 2021.

    [16] Nadia Rodríguez. “Mensaje de AMLO, irrelevante para la prensa”. Eje Central. 22 de abril 2021. Revisado el 3 de mayo 2021.

    [17] Eduardo Ruiz-Healy. “AMLO: ni el cambio climático ni quedar bien con otros es lo suyo”. 22 de abril 2021. Revisado el 12 de mayo 2021.

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