GLASGOW — President Biden will enter a riverside event space on Monday and try to convince a meeting of world leaders that the United States, which is pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than any other nation, is finally serious about addressing climate change. others should follow his lead.
But Mr. Biden comes in with a weaker hand than he expected.
It had to abandon the most powerful mechanism on its climate agenda: a program to quickly clean up the electricity sector by rewarding energy companies that migrate from fossil fuels and punishing those who don’t. The turnaround strategy is a $555 billion clean energy tax credit and a bill that would provide incentives. This would be the largest ever spent by the United States to combat global warming, but could only reduce pollution by half.
And this offer is still pending; Before leaving for Glasgow, Mr. Biden was unable to build a bridge between the progressives and moderates in his own party to solidify an agreement. If the legislation passes, he hopes to match it new environmental regulations Although they are not yet complete and can be reclaimed by a future president.
The president traveled from Rome to Glasgow, where the world’s 20 largest economies meet, and decided on Sunday that they would no longer be financing new coal operations overseas.
But with China, India and Australia particularly resilient, they haven’t been able to agree on a date to end home use of the dirtiest fossil fuel. And that didn’t bode well for significant progress in the climate talks in Glasgow.
Leaders of wealthy countries have said they are committed to the 2015 Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping the rise in average global temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. It is this threshold that scientists say the dangers of global warming have grown enormously. But the world is on track to warm 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100, and G20 leaders have been unable to agree on concrete steps to change that.
Mr. Biden has made climate action a central theme of his presidency and has garnered praise from diplomats and other leaders who expressed relief after former President Donald J. Trump downplayed climate science and pulled the US out of global efforts to address the crisis. .
But they remain skeptical, seeing as other American presidents pledge ambitious action against climate change, but falling short.
“Each country has its own tough legislative process, but in the end it’s the outcome that counts,” said Lia Nicholson, senior adviser to the Alliance of Small Island States, which is made up of vulnerable island nations.
Mr Biden said that if the United States lacks a credible plan to significantly reduce its emissions this decade, it will “send a signal” to other major emitters that America is still not serious. Others said it would be difficult for Mr Biden to encourage other countries to take more meaningful steps away from fossil fuels.
Environment and Energy Minister Andrea Meza said, “Some of these countries are like, ‘Oh yes, but look what you’ve done and now you come back and demand it while you’ve been away for the last four years?’ says,” he said. Costa Rica.
Tensions rose before the summit. China, currently the world’s largest emitter, announced a new goal On Thursday this was supposed to be a more ambitious plan to reduce its pollution, but it’s almost indistinguishable from what it promised six years ago. President Xi Jinping stated that the two most polluting countries, like the presidents of Russia’s Vladimir V. Putin and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, will not attend the summit personally.
Democrats close to President Biden have said they are bitterly aware that the credibility of the United States is at stake in Glasgow, especially after a clumsy withdrawal from Afghanistan this summer and the dusting of a military submarine contract with France.
California Democratic Representative Ro Khanna recently met with the president to discuss how to save Mr. Biden’s legislative climate agenda.
“Many world leaders like Putin and Xi have questioned the ability of American democracy to deliver, so we need to show them we can manage,” Khanna said.
Accompanied by 13 Cabinet members in Glasgow, Mr. Biden insists he has success stories to tell, starting with his first day in office and his decision to rejoin the 2015 Paris Agreement, in which nearly 200 countries will fight. It’s climate change that Mr Trump is pulling the US back on.
Since then, Mr. Biden has taken several steps to reduce emissions, including reinstating automobile pollution regulations and slightly strengthening them to current levels. President Barack Obama However weakened by Mr Trump. It took the first steps to allow the development of large-scale wind farms along nearly the entire coastline of the United States, and last month restricting the production and use of potent planet-warming chemicals called hydrofluorocarbonsUsed in air conditioners and refrigerators.
But Mr. Biden will probably highlight The $555 billion he wants Congress to approve as part of a large spending bill. Climate provisions will promote wind and solar power, electric vehicles, climate-friendly agriculture and forestry programs, and a host of other clean energy programs. Together, these programs could reduce US emissions by up to a quarter of 2005 levels by 2030, analysts say.
That’s about half of Mr Biden’s goal of reducing the nation’s emissions 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels. “We’re going in with a pretty remarkable phenomenon pattern as well as real momentum,” Ali Zaidi, the White House deputy national climate adviser, told reporters.
Mr Biden is planning publish tough new auto-pollution rules Designed to force American automakers to increase sales of electric vehicles so that half of all new cars sold in the United States are electric by 2030. just over 2 percent this year. His senior appointments also promised new restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants. And earlier this year, Biden administration officials said they would pass a draft rule by September to regulate emissions of methane, a powerful planet-warming gas that seeps from existing oil and gas wells.
So far, management has not offered drafts of any of these rules. Several management sources said The delay is partly due to a lack of staff.An effort not to upset any lawmakers before they vote on Mr. Biden’s legislative agenda.
But time is running out. Work on such complex and controversial government policies can take years to complete, and many are likely to face legal challenges. On Friday, the conservative-majority US Supreme Court said it would review the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, potentially complicating Mr Biden’s plans.
For three decades, American politics has complicated global climate efforts.
Former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, joined the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the first global effort to combat climate change. His Republican successor, President George W. Bush, backed out of the deal. Mr. Obama, another Democrat, joined the 2015 Paris Agreement and issued dozens of executive orders to help him deliver on his promises to reduce emissions. His Republican successor, Mr. Trump, abandoned the deal, More than 100 repealed He accepted Mr. Obama’s regulations and took steps to expand fossil fuel drilling and mining.
Mr. Biden is facing similar resistance. No Republican in Congress supported the current climate effort. Frank Lucas, the top Republican Representative for Oklahoma on the House science committee, said the international community should be skeptical of the Biden administration’s promises. “I think people will roll their eyes as they will continue to do it in the United States,” said Mr. Lucas.
The president also struggled to win over two key players within his own party. West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin III, firmly against a Key feature of Mr. Biden’s climate plan: a program that will force power plants to quickly switch from burning coal, oil and gas to using wind, solar and other clean energies. Mr. Manchin’s province is the top coal and gas producer and personal financial ties to the coal industry. He managed to kill the sentence. Arizona Democrat Senator Kyrsten Cinema also withheld her support, saying she wanted a more modest spending bill.
Environmental leaders said America’s past inconsistency on climate action made it more important for Mr. Biden to succeed now.
“The United States had to be dragged into the climate table kicking and screaming and slowing down the action needed to tackle the climate crisis,” said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, a Nairobi-based environmental think tank. “This is the legacy Biden has to deal with.”
what’s at stake
Average global temperatures have already risen by about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial levels, locking in the imminent future of rising seas, devastating storms and floods, severe fires and more severe drought and heat.
According to research published in the journal Nature Climate Change, at least 85 percent of the planet’s population is already experiencing the effects of climate change. This summer alone, more than 150 people died Severe flooding in Germany and Belgium. in the center of China, Worst flood displaced 250,000 people. Inside Siberia, summer temperatures It reached as high as 100 degrees and fed enormous flames that melted the once permanently frozen ground.
“Clearly, we are in a climate emergency. “We clearly need to address this,” said Patricia Espinosa, head of the UN climate agency, while welcoming delegates to Glasgow on Sunday. “Obviously, we need to support the most vulnerable to cope. To do this successfully, a greater ambition is now essential.”
Scientists say warming the planet by half a degree more could lead to water and food shortages, mass extinctions of plants and animals, and more deadly heat and storms.
Sara Noordeen is the chief climate ambassador for the Maldives, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Most of the country consists of coral islands that are only about three meters above sea level. Rising seas as a result of climate change mean that the Maldives, which has been inhabited for thousands of years, could be submerged in a few generations.
Ms Noordeen said the election of Mr. Biden brought “a lot of hope” to countries like his. However, he added, “this law also needs it to pass.”