Biden shifts the focus of climate efforts from the US to the rest of world

Joe Biden was focusing the attention of his fight for fast, concerted global action against global warming from Congress to the rest of the world Monday. He criticized China over climate change and appealed to leaders at the U.N. summits to agree to the big climate measures he is still trying to get right at home.

Biden shifts the focus of climate efforts from the US to the rest of world

Biden spoke to world leaders at the recently opened climate summit in Glasgow (Scotland) and planned to reaffirm his administration's efforts in climate mitigation. He also wanted to announce new climate initiatives. This included billions of dollars in legislation that would help poorer countries in developing countries deal with climate change.

After the Trump administration's withdrawal, Biden returned to diplomacy this week with allies abroad. He called it "the power of America being there." Air Force One arrived in Glasgow on Monday for the summit.

It is often said that the summit is crucial to implementing the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Biden and his administration are facing obstacles when trying to push the United States and other countries to take action on climate change, both at home and abroad. The administration tried to temper expectations that the two-week-long summit would produce significant breakthroughs in cutting climate-damaging emission emissions.

John Kerry, Biden's climate ambassador, said Sunday that Glasgow was not a quick fix.

The United States has yet to convince some of the most polluting countries in the world, China, Russia, and India, to join its alliance and make stronger commitments to reduce their use of coal, gas, and oil, and move towards cleaner energy.

Kerry defended Sunday's outcome of the Group of 20 leaders economies summit that concluded in Rome earlier that day. G-20 leaders were supposed to generate momentum for climate progress in Glasgow. Leaders at the summit in Italy agreed on a number of measures including formalizing a promise to end international subsidies for dirty-burning coal-fired power stations.

Biden also praised a separate U.S. - European Union steel agreement as an opportunity to reduce imports of "dirty” Chinese steel forged from coal power. This is another step towards potentially using Western markets to persuade China to stop embracing coal power, which is the top global climate polluter.

However, G-20 leaders made vague promises and did not make any concrete commitments to take action. They stated that they would strive for carbon neutrality by mid-century.

China and Russia, two of the world's largest polluters, have stated that they do not intend to follow the U.S. and its European allies in reducing fossil fuel pollution. Scientists believe that massive and rapid reductions in fossil fuel pollution is essential if global warming is to be kept below or at the limit set by the Paris climate agreement.

Experts say the world is currently on track to experience a degree of global warming that would cause much of the planet's glaciers to melt, increase sea levels, and significantly increase the probability of extreme weather.

Biden said Sunday night that he found the outcome at the Rome summit disappointing, countering the positive assessment of his aides. He also blamed two U.S. rivals.

Biden stated that the disappointment stemmed from Russia's and China's failure to make any commitments to address climate change.

Monday's announcement by the Biden administration was a step towards making America a completely clean energy nation. In compliance with the Paris Agreement, the long-term plan outlines a United States that is more dependent on solar, wind and other clean energy. Americans will be riding in electric cars and mass transit, using state-of the-art technology, and enjoying wide open spaces that have been carefully preserved to absorb carbon dioxide.

Over the 10 months of diplomacy that preceded the Glasgow summit, the Biden administration succeeded in securing significant climate pledges from its allies. This includes convincing many foreign governments to set higher targets for reducing their emissions, encouraging a global pledge by leading economies to stop funding coal energy, and promoting more ambitious targets.

European leaders express their delight at Biden's return and support for the U.S. in the climate effort, after Trump's predecessor, Donald Trump, turned his face on the Paris agreement and allies in general. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, smiled at Biden during Sunday's announcement about Sunday's steel deal and called him "dear Joe".

Despite sending high-ranking officials, neither President Vladimir Putin of Russia nor President Xi Jinping of China will be attending the Glasgow summit. India's refusal to reduce their dependence on petroleum and coal faster than India threatens to thwart hopes of meeting the Paris climate agreement's target reductions.

China has made commitments to reduce its emissions under Xi, but at a slower pace that the U.S. encouraged.

Jake Sullivan, U.S. national defense adviser, told reporters while traveling with President Obama that the United States and China should not be viewed as rivals because China, the second-largest economy in the world, could take action on its own.

Sullivan stated that China is a large country with a lot to offer and a lot to learn. "They are well-equipped to fulfill their responsibilities." Nothing about the U.S.-China relationship, whether structural or not, is going to stop them from doing their part.

Biden arrives at the international climate summit knowing that Congress is still undecided about his climate package. Biden has had to rescind one bill that would have encouraged the United States to move away from natural gas and coal, in order to avoid objections from his Democratic Party.

However, Biden's package still contains climate measures worth hundreds of billions of US dollars.

Biden said Sunday that climate investment was the largest in history. It's going to happen.

The climate talks were officially launched Sunday in Glasgow with an opening ceremony. But Monday's launch is more important. Biden and other leaders will present their countries' efforts at reducing emissions and dealing with the growing damage caused by climate change.

The White House reported that the U.S. president met with Kaja Kallas (Estonian Prime Minister) on the sidelines to discuss climate change and strengthening NATO's deterrence capability.

Biden will also attend a climate event Monday on "action and solidarité" and meet with President Joko Widodo of Indonesia.

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.

RELATED NEWS