On Earth Day, April 22, world leaders from over 100 countries will make history at the United Nations in New York as they sign the Paris Agreement on climate change. This signing will mark a turning point in the history of our planet as we move to bring this ambitious agreement into force.
Bold action is required. Europe is warming faster than other parts of the world, and has seen more frequent heat waves, forest fires, and droughts. In Slovakia, U.S. and Slovak scientists have documented changes to Slovak forests and Slovakia’s increased vulnerability to extreme weather phenomena.
But Aa greener future is already in sight. Leaders of countries and cities around the world are adapting and innovating to move away from fossil fuels, while business owners are investing in a clean energy economy. To demonstrate its commitment, by 2025, the United States will cut greenhouse gas emissions between 26 and 28 percent compared to 2005 levels. We will do this through the strongest fuel economy standards in our history, a twenty-fold increase in solar power generation from 2009 levels, and new rules on energy conservation standards.
While we are taking significant climate action domestically, the United States is also leading international cooperation to address climate change, with a $500 million contribution last month to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). This is the first part of an overall $3 billion U.S. pledge to the GCF to help developing countries reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate impacts.
The Slovak government is well-positioned to help advance the fight against climate change with its chairmanship of the EU Presidency later this year, when the EU will focus on reforming the emissions trading system and accelerating the adaptation to a recycling-friendly, zero-waste circular economy.
The signing of the Paris Agreement on this Earth Day is truly a cause for hope. It is also a reminder of our shared commitment to combating climate change. We must all seize the momentum generated in Paris to build a sustainable future for ourselves and our children and grandchildren.