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U.S. climate credibility on the line as Biden heads to COP26 -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Joe Biden passes solar panels as he tours the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative, Plymouth, New Hampshire. June 4, 2019, U.S. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo


Timothy Gardner and Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – President Joe Biden is determined to demonstrate at the U.N. Climate Conference in Scotland that America has returned to the fight against global warming. However, Congress continues to haggle over legislation that would help him achieve his climate goals. This could threaten to diminish the message to the rest of the world.

Biden will travel to Europe for the G20 Meeting in Rome on Thursday. A gathering of global leaders is scheduled in Glasgow for the purpose of saving the Earth from the destruction caused by rising temperatures.

Biden had planned to present legislation to meet the U.S. pledge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50%-52% by 2030, as compared to 2005 levels. This was to encourage others nations to adopt bold and quick actions to preserve the Earth.

Although the plan contains hundreds of billions in investments in clean electricity, some elements, such as a reward program for electric companies that invest in renewables, and penalize them that do not, were removed from a bill that funds his climate and social change agenda.

Biden was forced to leave Washington on Wednesday, as he and other Democrats still had not come to an agreement.

Although Democrats remain optimistic that an agreement can be reached in the next days, Biden could have difficulty convincing the rest of the world that his promise to reduce U.S. carbon omissions will come to fruition due to the absence of legislation.

Tom Damassa (associate director, climate change), Oxfam America said that “being able and capable of following through is crucial for maintaining credibility on the international stage and in inspiring other countries to take similar ambitious action.”

A bill is being considered that would expand tax credits to certain clean power sectors such as solar and wind. It could also provide grants or loans to farmers in order to help them switch to renewable energy. However, a carbon tax proposal and a carbon border adjustment tax adjustment which would increase import costs of goods like concrete and steel will likely be rejected.

Biden’s administration attempted to abolish long-standing tax exemptions for fossil fuels. Analysts estimate that this effort would cost between $15-20 billion annually. However, it was not dead.


White House officials claim that leaders around the globe understand the complexity of the legislative process. They insist that their country is able to meet its emissions targets without compromising certain elements of the bills meant to help the largest economy in the world become more eco-friendly.

The U.N. Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26 is taking place Oct. 31-Nov. 12, leaving plenty of time for a deal to be reached even after Biden has returned to Washington on Tuesday.

John Podesta was a climate advisor to Barack Obama and said that if no agreement is reached, we will continue (the COP26) with no agreement.

Biden began his presidency by bringing the United States back to the Paris climate agreement. This reversed a Republican president Donald Trump’s decision to pull out. Biden set the U.S. goal for emissions reductions months later as part of an effort to encourage other countries to adopt ambitious goals.

According to the White House, there are many policies that will be helpful in meeting U.S. objectives. These include a push for electric cars and programs to improve renewable fuels.

Jake Sullivan, U.S. national defense adviser, stated that despite the lack of a deal, “there will still be a lot energy and enthusiasm for what the president is doing right now to make bold investments that will deliver his promises.”

Glasgow may test your enthusiasm.

John Kerry, the U.S. climate ambassador, has traveled the globe on behalf of Biden to push other countries to reduce their carbon emissions. He was also eager for legislation to support the U.S. position at COP26.

To reduce methane emission by 30% in 2030 from 2020, more than 30 countries have joined the EU. It covers 30% of the global methane emissions.

However, the domestic methane fee, which is a powerful greenhouse gas, had been included in legislation. It was now at risk of being diluted or eliminated.

It could then be up to Biden’s environmental regulators, to develop rules to reduce emissions. Rules that may prove to be difficult to keep from being sued.