Putin also said the country has nearly halved its emissions compared to 1990 and called for a global reduction of methane

In a split from his past attitude toward climate change, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro vowed to end illegal deforestation in the country by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Bolsonaro has previously criticized protections of the country’s forests and threatened to withdraw from the Paris accord. Brazil has asked the Biden administration to provide $1 billion to pay for conservation efforts in the Amazon rainforest.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the country will pledge to curb emissions by 46% by 2030 compared with 2013 levels. Japan, the world’s fifth largest emitter, previously committed to a 26% reduction, a goal that was criticized as insufficient.

“I think those mass mandates in outdoor spaces should probably be the first to go,” she said. “We really need to focus on places we know are at high risk for a transmission like large gatherings and closed spaces with poor ventilation.”

Homing in on the importance of indoor masking and helping people understand when it’s safe to take off the mask may actually increase compliance, Jha said.

“Then you can really emphasize where it’s not safe and get people to [wear their mask],” he said.

The rate of community transmission is an important factor for loosening rules. In places where it’s lower, it may be an appropriate time to start lifting requirements.

Anne Rimoin, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, cautioned that setting a strict threshold to lift mandates isn’t advisable and that mask mandate metrics are subject to new and emerging science.

“If you’re vaccinated and if there’s low rates of community transmission, it’s definitely reasonable to not worry about wearing masks [outdoors]” she said.

But when in a crowded situation, even if outdoors, it’s safer to keep the mask on, Rimoin said.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro attends a virtual global climate summit via a video link in Brasilia, Brazil April 22, 2021.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro attends a virtual global climate summit via a video link in Brasilia, Brazil April 22, 2021.
Marcos Correa | Reuters
South Korea President Moon Jae In said that Korea will end public financing of coal-fired power plants overseas and plans to unveil a stronger emissions reduction pledge.

Leaders of countries like Brazil, Canada and Japan made commitments on Thursday to curb domestic greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change during President Joe Biden’s climate summit.

The pledges come shortly after Biden vowed to reduce U.S. emissions by at least 50% by 2030, more than doubling the country’s prior commitment under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

“We will continually strengthen our plan and take even more actions on our journey to net zero by 2050,” Trudeau said during the summit.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t provide a new target but re-confirmed the country’s vow to install 450 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030.

Modi also announced an India-U.S. Climate and Clean Energy Agenda Partnership for 2030. India is the world’s third largest emitter behind China and the U.S.

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Russia President Vladimir Putin broadly pledged to “significantly” reduce the country’s emissions in the next three decades and said Russia makes a big contribution in absorbing global carbon dioxide.

Putin also said the country has nearly halved its emissions compared to 1990 and called for a global reduction of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide and a main driver of climate change.

“The fate of our entire planet, the development prospects of each country, the well-being and quality of life of people largely depend on the success of these efforts,” Putin said at the summit.

China’s President Xi Jinping re-affirmed commitments to peak emissions before 2030 and go carbon neutral by 2060. The U.S. and China have agreed to cooperate on climate change despite division on issues like trade and human rights.

Masks protect against coronavirus infection, but with more than 84 million adults in the United States fully vaccinated against Covid-19, there are growing questions about whether wearing masks outdoors is still needed.

On Thursday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told TODAY the agency is considering revising its mask guidance.

“We’ll be looking at the outdoor masking question, but also in the context of the fact that we still have people who are dying of Covid-19,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

CDC director: We’re ‘looking at’ whether it’s still necessary to wear a mask outdoors
APRIL 22, 202106:52
Already in states where mask orders are still in effect, there are moves to loosen restrictions for outdoors. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper hopes to lift restrictions, including an outdoor mask mandate, by June 1. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is considering a change to outdoor mask guidance by June. Connecticut will lift mask requirements for outside in mid-May, along with transitioning indoor mask rules from mandate to guidance.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Some health experts are increasingly calling for mask restrictions to be eased for outdoor activities.

“We know that the virus largely spreads indoors and there’s very little transmission outdoors, except in some very specific circumstances,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said. “At this point in the pandemic, with more than half of Americans vaccinated, it’s pretty reasonable to start thinking about peeling back outdoor mask mandates.”

Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Masks should be used during large outdoor gatherings where people are close together for a prolonged period of time, such as a rally or sports events in packed arenas, he said. But passing someone on a street or going for a run without a mask is a very low-risk situation.

“Requiring everybody walking down the street to wear one is probably not needed,” Jha said.

A review paper published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that less than 10 percent of transmission occurs outdoors and the odds of spreading the virus indoors were 19 times higher.

However, experts at Northwestern University argue keeping masks on when you’re outside — even after you’re vaccinated — is not only a “social courtesy,” but also helps “model the behavior” for children, who can’t yet get the shot.

According to current CDC guidance, “masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others, or with people who live in your household.”

Health experts hope the CDC will more clearly outline high-risk situations when masks are truly needed.

Kristin Nelson, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, said that while it was reasonable to include outdoor mask mandates up until now, she would like to see them be one of the first restrictions lifted as more of the population gets vaccinated and case counts start to fall.

Some countries praised Biden for hosting the summit and bringing the U.S. back into the Paris accord. Former President Donald Trump’s administration exited the agreement and halted all federal efforts to reduce emissions.

“I’m delighted to see that the United States is back to work together with us in climate politics, because there can be no doubt about the world needing your contribution,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the summit.

Nations under the Paris agreement are set to unveil updated emissions targets for the next decade at the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.

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