In Glasgow, President Biden will try to convince a meeting of world leaders that the United States, which has pumped more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than any other nation, is finally getting serious about tackling climate change and that others must follow. his example.
But Biden comes up with a weaker hand than he expected.
It has been forced to abandon the most powerful mechanism on its climate agenda: a program that would have quickly cleaned up the power sector by rewarding power companies that migrated from fossil fuels and penalizing those that did not. His alternative strategy is a bill that would provide $ 555 billion in clean energy tax credits and incentives. It would be the largest amount ever spent by the United States to tackle global warming, but it would cut only half of pollution.
And that proposal is still pending; Biden was unable to bridge the divisions between progressives and moderates in his own party to cement an agreement before leaving for Glasgow. If the legislation passes, he hopes to match it with new environmental regulations, although they have not yet been completed and a future president could undo them.
By making climate action a central theme of his presidency, Biden earned praise from diplomats and other leaders, who expressed relief after President Donald J. Trump mocked climate science and pulled the United States out of the efforts. to tackle the crisis.
But they remain skeptical, having seen other American presidents promise ambitious actions to tackle climate change, only to come up short.