Earth Day 2021 – countries and corporates around the world ramp up climate commitments

Earth Day 2021 is proving to be the catalyst for global commitments to tackling the climate crisis.

US President Joe Biden has chosen this day to host 40 world leaders at a virtual climate summit in the White House – and countries are keen to bring new targets and pledges to the table in time.

Global brands have also used Earth Day to announce increased ambition on net zero and wider sustainability targets.

Here are the latest announcements:

Biden pledges to halve US emissions by 2030: US President Joe Biden has confirmed a new target to slash carbon emissions by 50-52% by 2030. edie has the story.

UK to cut emissions by 78% by 2030: The UK government this week confirmed it will set a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. The target is in line with recommendations from the independent Climate Change Committee, and is world leading. 

EU pledges a 55% cut in emissions by 2030: After lengthy negotiations, EU member states and the EU Parliament have adopted targets to cut carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. The EU Parliament had pushed for a higher target of 60% reduction. More on the BBC.

Big brands choose Earth Day to unveil climate targets: edie is reporting on the 11+ business giants that have used Earth Day to announce new targets. Stories include Burger King UK, which has had its new 2030 carbon reduction goals approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative, and promises to cut the emissions of its entire value chain by 41%. Whitbread has announced it is the first large UK hotelier to target net zero by 2040.

Canada sets steeper 2030 target: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced that Canada will tighten its 2030 emissions reduction target, from 30% to a 40-45% cut. The nation already has a 2050 net zero target in place.

Japan pledges a 46% emissions reduction cut by 2030: Japan set its 2050 net zero target last year, and today’s announcement by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga sets an interim emissions reduction goal of 46% by 2030.