Speaking at the United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow, the transport secretary, Mr Buttigieg, said the conversation surrounding climate change needed to refocus on whether the planet could sustain life. “What we are trying to save is lives,” he said.
Mr. Buttigieg was joined by Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University who spoke often about how to communicate climate change science effectively.
“The planet will be orbiting the sun long after we’re gone,” he said. “The planet doesn’t need us. We are the ones who need the planet.”
The discussion, which took place on the sidelines of global climate change negotiations, was part of high-level talks Tuesday on ways to reduce emissions from the transport sector. Climate pollution from roads, rails, ships and airplanes accounts for around 24 percent of total global emissions and is increasing rapidly.
Mr Buttigieg said in an interview: 1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure package The U.S. House and Senate have recently passed through the lens of climate change. The transportation department will oversee hundreds of billions of dollars in improvements to roads, rails and bridges – work that could lead to an increase in emissions if green technologies are not sufficiently incorporated.
“We are very mindful of the climate impacts of the choices we make,” Buttigieg said, noting that the law provides funding for public transport, bike lanes and new EV charging stations, in addition to road expansions.
The United States, however, did not join the countries. an international commitment to rapidly phase out petrol and diesel powered vehiclesButtigieg added on Tuesday that the Biden administration is “focused on what we do at home.”
The commitment of six automakers and nearly 30 countries to phase out sales of new petrol and diesel-powered vehicles worldwide by 2040 and in “leading markets” by 2035 will go faster than the Biden administration has requested.
Mr. Biden signed an executive order aimed at ensuring this. 50 percent of all new vehicles Those sold in the United States will be electric by 2030, a move made with support from major automakers.
“Different countries are clearly taking different approaches,” said Mr Buttigieg. “We must do what is right for the United States and at the same time support international action. I think that’s the balance we’re striking.”
Britain, Canada and India are among those participating in the pledge, along with California and the State of Washington.