Biden wraps climate summit, says solutions create jobs 'not even conceived of yet'

By Don Johnson & Danielle Haynes
U.S. President Joe Biden opens the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate in the East Room of the White House in Washington D.C., on Thursday. Pool Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo

April 23 (UPI) -- U.S. President Joe Biden concluded his two-day global climate summit on Friday by saying that finding environmental solutions would result in new jobs in "fields we haven't even conceived of yet."

Biden and his administration opened the final day of the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate with a focus on investing in global warming mitigation innovations. The session marked the beginning of the final day of the summit, Biden's effort to bring together leaders from dozens of countries to stimulate efforts to tackle climate change.


In a speech during the late session of the summit, the president also said that all countries can find common ground on the climate change issue, including the United States and Russia.

"President [Vladimir] Putin and I have our disagreements, but he's talking about how you capture carbon from space," Biden said. "It makes overwhelming sense. As much as the president of Russia and I disagree, the two big nations can cooperate to get something done."


Putin spoke at the summit on Thursday.

"It is no secret that the conditions that facilitated global warming go way back," Putin said in his remarks. "It's not enough to tackle the issue of new emissions, it is also important to take up the task of absorbing the [carbon dioxide] that is already in the atmosphere."

At Friday's session, Biden said all nations should ensure that today's workers "have as bright a tomorrow in the new industries."

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"Today's final session is not about the threat climate change poses," he added. "It's about the opportunity that addressing climate change provides, an opportunity to create millions of good-paying jobs around the world in innovative sectors."

Biden said the new jobs could include building electric cars, installing charging stations, upgrading buildings and installing wind turbines and solar panels. People could be working on farms, factories, laboratories and universities "in fields that we haven't even conceived of yet," he noted.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo led the first session Friday, which highlighted technology and innovation to reach net-zero emissions.


Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, said products that can reduce carbon emissions will create a $23 trillion global market by 2030.

"We can all remake our economies and put people to work," she said, calling climate change "our generation's moonshot."

"We need a mindset that overcomes change," she added. "The scariest thing we can do is do nothing."

Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg spoke during the session and said coal plants are the "single biggest contributor to climate change, and they spew toxic, deadly pollution into the air."

He said climate change cannot be beaten without a historic level of new investment, and "that will only happen if governments, investors and business leaders have the information they need to make smart decisions working with partners."

Bloomberg added that cities and businesses hold the key to defeating climate change.

"They are responsible for the vast majority of emissions. So helping them and incentivizing them to take action really is critical," he said.

During his speech Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country plans to phase out coal completely by 2025.

"That's four years from now," he said. "Barring unforeseen circumstances, Israel will no longer be burning coal, period."


Netanyahu added that renewable energies will provide more than one-third of Israel's electricity by the end of the 2020s.

Biden opened the summit on Thursday -- Earth Day -- by announcing the United States plans to take steps to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030.

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