Biden says the United States is back as a leader in the fight against climate change as he urges all nations to step up their ambitions

Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

President Joe Biden used a short visit to the United Nations climate change summit in Egypt on Friday to tell the world that the United States is ready to resume its leadership role in the fight against global warming after adoption of one of the President’s top priorities.

In a speech at the UN COP27 summit, Biden proclaimed the US was back as a global leader on climate change after the Cut Inflation Act was passed, which included approximately $370 billion in clean energy incentives intended to reduce the use of harmful greenhouse gases.

“My friends, I came to the presidency determined to bring about … the transformational changes that are needed, that America needs to make and that we need to do for the rest of the world, to overcome decades of opposition and obstacles to the progress on this issue alone,” Biden said, “to reestablish the United States as a trusted global leader and on the climate committee. As I stand here before you, we have made tremendous strides to achieve it.

Biden added that other nations must rise to the challenge as well.

“To permanently bend the emissions curve, every nation must step up,” he said. “During this meeting, we must renew and raise our climate ambitions. The United States is acting. Everyone must act. It is a duty and a responsibility of global leadership.

Biden arrived Friday at the ongoing climate summit in an Egyptian Red Sea resort keen to highlight major new US investments to limit climate change, a stark departure from the last time he attended. is presented at a climate conference empty-handed.

During his speech, Biden apologized for America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord under former President Donald Trump, and said he was trying to prove to skeptics that “good climate policy is sound economic policy”. He said these measures would lead to progress and sustainable economic growth around the world.

He pointed to a proposed new rule requiring large federal contractors to develop carbon reduction targets and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, leveraging the federal government’s buying power to fight climate change in the private sector and strengthen vulnerable supply chains.

Biden also announced new rules from his administration intended to further crack down on methane, a super-polluting greenhouse gas. The Environmental Protection Agency plans to further strengthen an earlier regulation it announced to reduce methane pollution from the oil and gas sector. As proposed, the updated rule would reduce methane emissions from oil and gas by 87% from 2005 levels.

The newly improved rule would also require oil and gas companies to respond to “credible third-party reports” of large methane leaks. The EPA rule still has to go through a public comment process before being finalized.

Biden announced new partnerships with foreign countries on methane reduction and several other new international climate initiatives. The United States will double a multi-year adaptation funding pledge to $100 million and announce new climate partnerships with countries in Africa and the Pacific Islands.

The country’s actions mean the United States “will meet our emissions goals by 2030,” Biden said.

“The climate crisis is about human security, economic security, environmental security, national security and the very life of the planet,” Biden said.

Yet many of the countries that have sent representatives to this week’s conference in Egypt are focused on another topic: demanding that climate reparations be paid from wealthy, emitting countries like the United States to smaller and larger countries. poor who have felt the disproportionate effects of climate change.

It’s a proposal that some European countries have clung to and pushed Biden to support. But political constraints, both in the United States and elsewhere, make significant progress unlikely, at least in the short term.

Biden has previously struggled to win congressional support for global climate resilience funding, which would help low-income countries prepare for the adverse effects of global warming, such as floods and other extreme events. If Republicans take control of one or both chambers, the prospects for new climate legislation within the next two years look bleak.

When asked by Egyptian reporters how he plans to convince Republicans to fund his climate initiatives, Biden replied, “Reality.”

Speaking at the climate conference on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged that after the midterm contests, Democrats will have to join Republicans in taking action to fight change. climate change, even if it cast doubt on the will of the opposing party to act.

“Our colleagues said, ‘Why are we having this discussion, there’s no climate crisis, it’s all a hoax,'” she said of the GOP’s reaction to climate change investments. climate change that were included in the Inflation Reduction Act.

“We have to overcome this,” she continued. “I place my trust in their children, who hopefully will teach their parents that this is urgent, that they are long overdue.”

Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry announced a new plan on Wednesday to raise money for climate action in the developing world by selling carbon credits to companies willing to offset their emissions. He said the proposal would help countries decarbonise their energy system. But the plan has already drawn criticism because of the way it will be funded – with money raised from the sale of carbon credits, which allows companies to pay for someone else to reduce their warming emissions planetary, instead of reducing theirs.

But he was candid in an interview with CNN’s David McKenzie: “there is not enough money in any country in the world to actually solve this problem”, referring to the acceleration of the energy transition and the tackling the climate crisis.

Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi receives Biden on the sidelines of the COP27 summit on Friday.

Meeting with military-backed Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Biden thanked the host of this year’s COP27 summit for reminding the world of the urgency of the climate crisis.

“This is an urgent crisis and we all need to do a lot more,” Biden said.

He said with Sisi he would discuss a wide range of issues, including the US-Egyptian defense partnership, a more integrated Middle East and, most importantly, human rights.

The president is only expected to be in Egypt for about three hours. It stops over en route to other international summits in Asia.

The years that followed saw the overthrow of authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak during the Arab Spring, followed by a period of instability and the rise to power of el-Sisi, whom Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had once referred to as his “favorite dictator”.

Biden has kept Sisi at bay throughout his own presidency and has limited some military aid on human rights grounds. Ahead of their meeting, Biden said he was ‘looking forward to our conversation’ and praised Egypt for supporting Ukraine at the United Nations and for helping broker a ceasefire in cross-border conflict. in Gaza last year.

Speaking before Biden, el-Sisi also touched on the issue of human rights, saying he had established a comprehensive approach. The United States has previously accused Egypt of a dismal human rights record.

Before his departure, Biden was urged by human rights activists and a group of House Democrats to raise with el-Sisi the imprisonment of British-Egyptian activist and writer Alaa Abd el-Fattah, who is currently on a hunger strike.

A senior administration official said the United States was “concerned” about the case and that “human rights will figure prominently” in the president’s conversations abroad.

Asked by reporters if he had discussed el-Fattah with el-Sisi, Biden replied, “What we talked about was the relationship between the United States and Egypt.”

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

About Therese Williams

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