Last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, leaders around the world pledged that when the public health crisis lifted they would rebuild the economy with climate in mind. But as the pandemic dragged on, so too did any expectation that we might know whether leaders had actually stepped up to meet the challenge.
Now, after months of fits and starts, this week’s White House climate summit marks the beginning of what is sure to be a long slog for countries to deliver on those promises. “This summit is our first step on the road we’ll travel together,” Biden said on Thursday, alluding to the series of summits and conferences that will culminate in the landmark UN Climate Change conference scheduled for November, “to set our world on a path to a secure, prosperous, and sustainable future.”
Over the course of the day on Thursday and Friday, dozens of government heads from across the globe promised aggressive action on climate change, from commitments to slash emissions to promises to help developing countries finance their domestic energy transition. Whether they deliver remains to be seen.
Bringing the world together for a U.S.-led climate summit was always going to be an uphill battle. Biden first proposed the idea on the campaign trail, seemingly to remind voters of his experience on the world stage and his familiarity with foreign leaders. And, when he was elected, most of the people who work on international climate issues didn’t have a clue what shape it would take. Not only would the Biden Administration need to contend with planning a summit in the midst of a pandemic, but the U.S. would need to shake off four years of climate denial from the Trump Administration and convince the world that a U.S.-led climate summit was worth attending.
Biden got to work immediately. During his transition, he selected former Secretary of State John Kerry to serve as his climate envoy, a choice whose familiar face would open doors from Beijing to Brussels. And, upon taking office, Biden signed a flurry of climate executive orders and promised to infuse the issue to everything the administration does—a signal to the world that the U.S. might lead once again.
Over the past several months, Kerry has hopped around the world. He visited Europe in March before Antony Blinken had left the country as Secretary of State and then, a few weeks later, he made the …read more
Source:: Time – Politics