SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt – President Joe Biden’s raid on a UN global climate change conference on Friday comes on the heels of the most momentous climate legislation in the country’s history.
But his appearance at COP27 is expected to be greeted with frustration on the part of many countries, who feel the US has done too little, too late, to tackle global warming.
Biden is unlikely to be able to deliver on a pledge to spend $11 billion on international climate aid by 2024, with Republicans expected to gain control of Congress.
His administration said this week it is considering other ideas floating around the top to help low-income countries that emit less greenhouse gases but are expected to be most affected by global warming.
- Where he’s going: COP27, the United Nations’ annual meeting of the 197 countries that have agreed to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, originally adopted in 1992.
- Why it’s important: The Assembly is the decision-making body of the countries that have signed the framework. It is held to assess how well countries are coping with climate change.
- How long will he be there: Biden will spend only a few hours in Sharm; he will leave on Friday for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference.
- What else does he do: Biden will meet with COP27 host and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi upon arrival.
- On the American agenda: Biden will discuss Russia’s war on Ukraine with el-Sisi and urge the Egyptian leader to release political prisoners and implement human rights reforms, US officials said.
- Biden’s big moment: The main event is Biden’s climate remarks. He will reiterate that America is on track to cut its emissions by 50% by 2030.
- Who is in his entourage: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Presidential Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry and EPA Administrator Michael Regan.
What’s going to happen?
Biden will deliver a speech touting the $370 billion for clean energy initiatives in Democrats’ climate and health spending bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA.
The climate spending in the bill is one of Biden’s key achievements as president, and the administration hopes to present the bill, which will fund credits for consumers buying electric vehicles and energy-efficient home upgrades, as a model for public investment.
Climate watchers will wait and see what Biden says about “loss and damage financing,” or the idea that countries that are poorer and most vulnerable to climate change should get support and adaptation financing from rich countries that got rich by burning fossil fuels over the latter. 250 years when they industrialized.
- “Now that the IRA is on the books, the president will want to say that the US is leading the way in emissions reductions. What are other countries doing to achieve their goals?” said Joseph Majkut, director of the Energy Security and Climate Change Program at CSIS.
- Climate experts
- “I hope his message will be that the world needs to stay strong on their promises and that climate cooperation can act as a kind of catalyst for addressing all these multiple crises that we are now dealing with, which are really just from our broken relationship with nature. said Anne Christianson, director of International Climate Policy at the Progressive Center for American Progress.
- US climate envoy John Kerry said at a Chatham House forum last month that the US is committed to helping countries “start up” their green energy transition.
- “But if it just becomes some kind of liability, and compensation and reparation or something, that’s not going to foster dialogue,” Kerry said.
- Speaking in Sharm on Thursday about the Republicans’ “disagreement” with her party over climate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “We have to get over that. I put my trust in their children, who hopefully will teach their parents that this is urgent, way too late. .”
Why it matters
More than 33,000 delegates from more than 190 countries attend the 13-day conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, known for its sandy beaches and coral reefs and a major tourist destination for divers.
Biden is the only leader of the three largest CO2 emitting countries in the world to attend. Neither President Xi Jinping of China nor Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India is in attendance.
The president is considering a reelection bid and the visit will help him show climate activists, who are a key part of Biden’s base, that he is prioritizing efforts to reduce emissions.