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President Biden tries to shift climate change focus to China

The summit is often billed as essential to putting the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord into action.

November 1, 2021  by Associated Press

President Joe Biden was swinging the focus of his battle for fast, concerted action against global warming from the U.S. Congress to the world on Nov. 1, scolding rival China on climate and appealing to other leaders at a U.N. summit to commit to the kind of big climate measures that he is still working to nail down at home.

Speaking to world leaders at the newly opened climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Biden planned to tote up his not-yet year-old administration’s climate efforts and announce new climate initiatives, including billions of dollars in hoped-for legislation to help poorer communities abroad deal with climate damage already underway.

Wading back into hands-on diplomacy with allies overseas this week after the withdrawal of the Trump administration, Biden on the eve of his climate summit arrival touted “the power of America showing up.” Air Force One touched down Monday in grey Glasgow for the summit.

The summit is often billed as essential to putting the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord into action.

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But Biden and his administration face obstacles in prodding the United States and other nations to act fast enough on climate, abroad as at home. In the runup to the summit, the administration has tried hard to temper expectations that two weeks of talks involving more than 100 world leaders will produce major breakthroughs on cutting climate-damaging emissions.

Rather than a quick fix, “Glasgow is the beginning of this decade race, if you will,” Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, told reporters Sunday.

As the summit opens, the United States is still struggling to get some of the world’s biggest climate polluters — China, Russia and India — to join the U.S. and its allies in stronger pledges to burn far less coal, gas and oil and to move to cleaner energy.

Kerry on Oct. 31 defended the outcome of a summit of the Group of 20 leading economies that ended earlier that day in Rome. The G-20 meeting was supposed to create momentum for more climate progress in Glasgow, and leaders at the Italy summit did agree on a series of measures, including formalizing a pledge to cut off international subsidies for dirty-burning, coal-fired power plants.

Biden also lauded a separate U.S.-European Union steel agreement as a chance to curb imports of “dirty” Chinese steel forged by coal power. It’s another step toward potentially using Western markets as leverage to persuade China, the world’s top climate polluter, to ease up in its enthusiasm for coal power.


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