Biden calls for tougher action on emissions and promises job gains worldwide.

“Glasgow must be the kickoff of a decade of innovation and ambition to preserve our shared world,” President Biden said during the COP26 conference on Monday.
Credit...Pool photo by Yves Herman

President Biden told world leaders on Monday that “we only have a brief window before us to raise our ambitions” to fight climate change, warning that climate disasters were already imposing trillions of dollars of economic costs but offering hope that a shift to lower-emission energy sources could create millions of jobs around the world.

“Glasgow must be the kickoff of a decade of innovation and ambition to preserve our shared world,” Mr. Biden said in a speech that lasted just over 11 minutes, near the beginning of a session with fellow leaders at the U.N. summit on climate change, known as COP26.

The president touted the potential emissions reductions in a sweeping spending bill that Democrats are hoping to pass through the House and Senate soon, but which still has uncertain prospects to make it to Mr. Biden’s desk.

He did not lay out more ambitious short-term targets or pledges for American emissions reductions, beyond those he detailed at a climate meeting in April, although he said he would release on Monday a long-term plan to bring the United States to net-zero emissions by 2050.

He also did not call out China — as his national security adviser did earlier in the day — for insufficient action on emissions reduction. Instead, he called for global cooperation.

“We’re still falling short,” he said. “There is no more time to hang back or sit on the fence or argue amongst ourselves. This is a challenge of our collective lifetime.”

Mr. Biden said that in the days to come, his administration would detail new efforts to reduce emissions through forestry and the agriculture and oil and gas industries. And he pledged additional U.S. support for developing nations in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

“God bless you all,” Mr. Biden said, slightly tweaking his traditional speech-closing remarks, “and may God save the planet.”