Remarks by President Biden at the Informal Dialogue and Working Lunch at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
November 16, 2023
San Francisco, California
12:45 PM PT
CHAIRPERSON: Is this in operation? yes it is. Well, good evening everyone. I was just waiting there for the tide to go out.
Welcome. Welcome to our first session of leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). I really appreciate the fact that you are all here. Thank you. I hope the city has been good to you.
And earlier this morning, I spoke with — at the CEO Summit. I said that our world is at an inflection point – a point where the decisions we make now will determine the course of consequences, not just for a few of our countries, over the next several decades.
Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to climate. Every economy around this table faces this challenge – every one of us. As I said before, it is the only existential threat to humanity. Either we do this right or there won’t be many people to talk about.
Every economy has seen signs of what will happen if we don’t act – droughts, floods, rising seas, rising temperatures, more and more unpredictable weather patterns, and more and more unpredictable markets.
As a region, we’ve been responsible for the largest share – the region we’re talking about here around this roundtable, we’re responsible for the largest share of global emissions, so we must also take responsibility for solutions while we still have time to change course.
Earlier this week, I released the Fifth U.S. Climate Assessment, which shows what we’ve done and how far we have to go.
But the truth is that only together will we be able to make any real progress. Any one of us who reaches zero emissions will not change the world; We have to do it together. Only by working together can we keep the goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius within our reach.
And here at home, I’m proud to say that the United States is doing our part.
One year ago, I signed what we called the Limiting Inflation Act — the largest investment ever in the climate fight, anywhere in the world.
Two years ago, I signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the largest infrastructure investment in American history, including what we call the “clean energy” sector.
Over the past three years, we’ve helped mobilize more than half a trillion dollars in private sector investment, including scaling technologies like offshore wind, advanced nuclear, clean hydrogen, direct air capture, and more.
Not only do these investments put the United States on track to meet our 1.5 degree emissions reduction goal — a goal consistent with reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2030, they create jobs — good-paying jobs, jobs where you can raise your family. They are helping to reduce the cost of clean energy and climate technologies for countries around the world by up to 25 percent in some regions.
But we can’t stop here. We have a lot of work to do.
You all know, as I do, that the impacts of climate change are felt most acutely by those who have contributed the least to the problem. Let me say that again: You know that the effects of climate change are felt most by the countries that contribute the least to the problem, including developing countries.
We have contributed a lot here in the United States throughout the year, over the past 300 years. That’s why I’m working with Congress to dramatically increase international climate finance.
This year, the world is on track to collectively meet our $100 billion climate finance pledge under the Paris Agreement.
I have also asked Congress for another $25 billion to strengthen the role of multilateral development banks in combating the climate crisis as well as starting with the World Bank. Because climate security, energy security, food security – they are all interconnected, as you all know. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.
Furthermore, we focused on ending deforestation. Forests are the key to our future.
In the United States alone, these countries absorb 10% of our greenhouse gas emissions today.
We are also working with partners around the table to mobilize $1 billion to conserve the Amazon and other vital ecosystems in Latin America. As you know, the Amazon is a huge carbon sink; It absorbs more carbon from the air daily than the United States emits daily. They need to be preserved, and they need help doing so.
The United States has also ratified the Kigali Amendment, which will significantly reduce the production of HFCs.
Finally, the Global Methane Pledge that we launched two years ago in cooperation with just seven other countries and the European Union has grown to include 150 countries.
Here at home, the United States is turning this pledge into progress. We’re investing more than $20 billion in methane mitigation to do things like plug leaks throughout our oil and gas sectors. Altogether, in 2023, these steps, if completed, will reduce methane emissions from covered sources by 87% below 2005 levels.
I encourage everyone around this table to take strong national action as well, because as I said before, it will take all of us to come together at this moment.
With the right commitments from every economy here, we can limit – we can limit global warming, we can build a new energy future and leave no one behind, and we can turn – we can turn this moment into a great moment – from great danger to a moment of great possibility.
And the moment when we stood together to protect our people and preserve our planet for future generations – this is the moment we are living now. This is the opportunity we have. That’s what this session is about.
I look forward to hearing directly from each of you about your climate needs and priorities, and what else you might need. I look forward to finding new ways to maximize our impact.
Now, I would like to ask the journalists to leave, which will only take a couple of minutes, I’m sure. No, we will ask the press to leave.
I will turn it over to Secretary Kerry, my special climate envoy, so we can continue this conversation.
12:52 PM PT