GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — United States President Joe Biden argued yesterday that historic progress on addressing global warming was achieved at the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, and expressed optimism for a similar outcome in Washington, where his legislative agenda has been stalled by intra-party disagreements.
Speaking in a press conference before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington, Biden highlighted new efforts to stop methane leaks, protect forests, invest in new technologies and spend money on clean energy infrastructure. But his efforts to meet US commitments on climate change with a major domestic spending bill remained held up by legislative manoeuvring.
“I can't think of any two days where more has been accomplished on climate than these two days,” Biden said.
The president contrasted the US posture of leading several major initiatives at the summit with those of Russia and China, who did not send their leaders to Glasgow. “The single most important thing that's got the attention of the world is climate, everywhere, from Iceland to Australia,” Biden said, “and they've walked away.”
“We showed up. We showed up,” Biden added. “And by showing up we've had a profound impact, I think, on how the rest of the world is looking at the United States.”
Biden has been determined to demonstrate to the world that the US is back in the global effort against climate change, after his predecessor Donald Trump pulled the US — the world's largest economy and second-biggest climate polluter — out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord.
Putting the US on the path to halve its own output of coal, oil and natural gas pollution by 2050, as his climate legislation seeks to do, “demonstrates to the world the United States is not only back at the table, it hopefully can lead by the power of our example”, Biden told delegates and observers on Monday.
But Biden has yet to deliver on his own commitments as coal-state US Senator Joe Manchin has again threatened Biden's domestic effort. For all the optimism Biden has been radiating at the summit in Scotland, persistent doubts lurk about whether he can deliver solely through executive actions as continued talks with Congress have steadily cut into his ambitions.
Manchin said Monday, at an unfortunate time for the president, that he remained undecided on Biden's US$1.75 trillion domestic policy proposal, which includes US$555 billion in provisions to combat climate change.