Biden Addresses COP27 Climate Conference

by Wall Street Rebel - Michael London | 11/11/2022 3:13 PM
Biden Addresses COP27 Climate Conference

At the COP27 climate talks held in Egypt, President Joe Biden told the delegates that his commitment to the environment had not wavered and that his administration was "putting our money where our mouth is to strengthen accountability for climate risk and resilience."

 

During his speech at the annual United Nations climate conference that is currently taking place in Egypt, President Joe Biden assured the audience that the United States of America would assume a leadership role in the effort to assist developing countries in mitigating the most severe effects of climate change. His statement today occurred during the two-week summit, during which there have been many gloomy warnings about how increased temperatures caused by carbon emissions lead to droughts, floods, and other natural disasters.

Biden emphasized America's position as a leader on the issue of climate change and a renewed commitment on the part of the United States to prevent catastrophic warming of the globe.

Mr. Biden traveled to Egypt in his capacity as the president who was responsible for the passage of historic climate law. This law provides a record $370 billion to accelerate the United States' transition from fossil fuels, which have been the foundation of the country's economy for the past 150 years.

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At the meeting, which was known as COP27, he discussed how, as soon as he took office, he promptly brought the United States back into the 2015 Paris climate deal after his predecessor, President Donald J. Trump, had withdrawn the nation from the pact. In front of the meeting, which consisted of diplomats, ministers, and officials from close to 200 different countries, Putin said, "I regret that we ever withdrew out of the deal."

Mr. Biden enumerated a number of recent climatic catastrophes that had resulted in devastation and suffering in many parts of the world, and he said that the only way to deal with the situation was via collective action. He urged other countries to follow the example set by the United States and step up their efforts to achieve profound and speedy reductions in pollution, which is the primary contributor to the planet's dangerously rising temperature.

"The United States is acting. Everyone has to act," Mr. Biden said. "It's a duty and responsibility of global leadership. Countries in a position to help should support developing countries so they can make decisive climate decisions."

"We're racing forward to do our part to avert the climate hell that the U.N. secretary-general so passionately warned about earlier this week," he said. He reaffirmed a promise made in 2021, which has not been carried out yet, to provide poor nations $11.4 billion year by 2024 to assist them in combating the consequences of climate change. The wealthier countries who signed the Paris accord in 2015 committed to this sum of money as part of their commitments. The previous year, Mr. Biden was only successful in securing $1 billion from Congress toward achieving that target.

The success that the United States has in areas such as better batteries, hydrogen, and other cornerstones of a green economy will drive "a cycle of innovation," which will cut prices, increase performance, and benefit the globe as a whole. He said that "we are going to help make the transition to a future with lower carbon emissions more affordable for everyone."

Mr. Biden made the announcement that the federal government of the United States would, for the first time, mandate that domestic oil and gas companies locate and repair leaks of methane, a greenhouse gas that traps almost 80 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does in the short term. The fossil fuel sector is the largest industrial source of methane emissions in the United States; the odorless, colorless gas escapes from pipes and is often purposefully released by gas producers. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. According to the findings of several scientific studies, it is necessary to stop the emission of methane into the atmosphere.

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a regulation that, according to the agency, would eliminate 36 million tons of methane emissions from oil and gas operations by the year 2035. This number is greater than the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted annually from all coal-fired power plants combined.

The United States and Europe led a coalition of over one hundred nations that pledged to reduce methane emissions by thirty percent by 2030. This alliance was formed the previous year. According to research published by the World Meteorological Organization, in spite of that vow, methane emissions have been rising at a quicker rate than at any time in the past. Mr. Biden encouraged other countries to live up to their commitments and fulfill their pledges.

Some of the negotiators lauded President Biden for his resolve to make significant reductions in the amount of pollution produced by the United States, particularly in light of the fact that President Trump has spent the past four years suspending federal efforts to combat climate change. A resounding round of applause greeted Mr. Biden's assertion that if governments can support coal, then they can also finance other forms of energy. At the conclusion of his speech, the audience gave him a resounding round of applause from the standing position.

Ayman Elgohary, an Egyptian delegate, described as "excited" President Biden's description of how the new American climate legislation would help reduce the price of renewable energy.

But the summit also highlighted something that Mr. Biden and his administration are learning more and more about: that while foreign leaders are happy to see the United States re-engage on the problem, their expectations for action on the part of the United States have increased significantly.

This week, ministers and activists from a variety of nations, particularly emerging markets in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, have stated that while they applaud Mr. Biden's policies to drive down pollution, the United States — which has historically produced the most fossil fuel emissions — owes reparations to poor countries that are being ravaged by climate change but have contributed little to the problem. The United States has historically produced the most fossil fuel emissions, so these ministers and activists believe that the United States should pay.

A number of the present negotiators and environmental activists voiced their disagreement with Mr. Biden before he began speaking. Protesters temporarily disrupted the event.

"Joe Biden comes to COP27 and makes new promises, but his previous promises have not even been fulfilled," said Mohamed Adow, the founder of the environmental organization Power Shift Africa, after Mr. Biden's speech. "He resembles a salesperson selling products with unending fine print."

At the climate discussions that took place in Egypt, Mr. Biden represented the only major polluting nation that sent a representative to those meetings. The President of China, Xi Jinping, and the President and Prime Minister of Russia and India, Vladimir V. Putin and Narendra Modi, respectively, did not attend.

During his statement, Joe Biden spoke about the lengthy and difficult fight to pass a climate law. He said that he had sponsored legislation to address what was then an impending disaster when he was a senator, which was more than 30 years ago. "Finally," he stated, "today I can stand here as president of the United States of America and announce, with confidence, that the United States will reach its emissions objectives by 2030." He was referring to the year 2030.

The time Mr. Biden spent at the meeting ended nearly as quickly as it had started. After traveling all night from Washington, he arrived in Egypt in the middle of the day. After that, he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for around three hours on the ground and discussed a variety of subjects, including "the significance of human rights and respect for basic freedoms," according to officials from the White House.

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His presentation during the meeting lasted around 23 minutes. After that, he boarded Air Force One for a second overnight journey to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he is scheduled to participate in an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference.

Following his visit to Cambodia, Mr. Biden will continue his trip to Bali, Indonesia, to attend the Group of 20 conferences. While there, he intends to have a conversation with Mr. Xi. Climate activists and diplomats are keeping their fingers crossed that the men, whom each represents one of the world's two greatest economies and one of the two countries that are responsible for the emission of the most greenhouse gases, will reignite conversations about climate action. Because China was upset over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan in August, the negotiations were interrupted at that time.

A climate law known as the Inflation Reduction Act is intended to hasten the adoption of electric vehicles and a transition to wind, solar, and other clean energy sources. While the president was on the ground in Egypt, he announced some modest new steps to build on the tax incentives and government spending programs contained in the climate law.

One of the climate law clauses proposes that the worst polluters might be subject to penalties of up to $1,500 per ton of methane emitted into the atmosphere. This provision is part of the deal. However, there is also $1.55 billion included in the package to assist businesses in avoiding such penalties by investing money into improving technology to detect and manage leaks.

A new provision that the administration has dubbed the "super-emitter response program" is included in the regulation that the E.P.A. has proposed. This provision would force oil and gas operators to react to reliable third-party claims that their locations suffered massive methane leaks.

Any hope that President Biden has of passing additional climate legislation, including funding to fulfill the United States' climate commitments to developing nations, could be complicated because the control of Congress is still up in the air following the midterm elections that took place this week. Suppose the Republicans take control of either or both houses of Congress. In that case, it is very doubtful that they would accept such expenditure.

Democrat delegates who attended the climate meeting in Egypt admitted that any additional climate measures, such as those to reduce more emissions or win more financing for impoverished natis, would face significant obstacles. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island said,

Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland said that "we can't get 60 votes for such problems," particularly when it comes to financing to assist impoverished nations in transition to renewable energy or deal with the impacts of climate change.

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                        WATCH LIVE: Biden delivers remarks at COP27 U.N. climate conference

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