President Alberto Fernández on Thursday participated in a virtual Earth Day summit against climate change convened by his US counterpart Joe Biden, during which he said Argentina is fully committed to the environmental crisis.
Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva were among the officials who at the summit backed calls for higher carbon taxes and massive investments in green energy to curb rising temperatures and put the world on the path to prosperity.
Fernández, who was invited to attend the summit virtually in a letter from the US president back in March, told world leaders that he was fully onboard with attempts to limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The Peronist president said that under his leadership, Argentina "has put climate and environmental action at the centre of its convictions" and stressed that his country would “honour” the aims laid out in the Paris Agreement.
"It is now or never; I have instructed my Cabinet to develop a national adaptation and mitigation plan," said the president, as he addressed the summit, adding that he would soon send Congress "a bill for the environmental protection of native forests."
However, Fernández then used much of his speaking time to push the idea that international credit organisations should provide financial support for environmental commitments, such as "debt swaps for climate action." He also called for “a new allocation of [International Monetary Fund] Special Drawing Rights, without discrimination, to middle-income countries to improve our environment. "
He argued that “irresponsible over-indebtedness caused before the pandemic and aggravated by the presence of this virus, with greater flexibility of terms,” had left countries in crisis feeling the pinch.
"We need to renew the international financial architecture,” he added. “The agenda is clear: mobilisation of concessional and non-reimbursable resources channelled through multilateral and bilateral banks and with agile and transparent processes.”