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COP27

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While we are focusing on the elections (for good reasons of course), the world continues to burn. Will the US ever do anything useful in fighting climate change? Biden appeared at COP27 the other day to commit the nation to better policies. I believe Biden takes this seriously and I respect him for that. But is it enough, especially given the instability of the United States and Republicans’ bizarre pro-mass death policies around climate?

President Biden appeared before an overflowing United Nations convention on Friday to reclaim America’s role as a leader on climate change and to stress a renewed U.S. commitment to stop the planet from catastrophic warming.

Mr. Biden came to Egypt as the president who muscled through a landmark climate law, one that provides a record $370 billion to accelerate America’s transition away from the fossil fuels that have underpinned its economy for 150 years.

At the summit, known as COP27, he spoke of how he immediately returned the United States to the 2015 Paris climate agreement upon taking office after his predecessor, President Donald J. Trump, had withdrawn the country. “I apologize that we ever pulled out of the agreement,” he told the gathering, which comprised diplomats, ministers and representatives of nearly 200 nations.

Mr. Biden’s speech came in the midpoint of the two-week summit that has focused not so much on cutting the pollution that is driving climate change, but on the question of what, if anything, industrialized countries owe to poor nations that are suffering climate disasters for which they are ill-prepared and did little to cause.

That question has dominated the proceedings. And it’s very hard to imagine a serious American commitment to payments to Pakistan and Bangladesh and Maldives to help them manage these problems. Even liberal Americans don’t pay much attention to countries like this, while conservatives are outright opposed to foreign aid except as payoffs to right-wing governments. Biden of course made no suggestion of supporting such a thing either.

During his remarks at COP27, Mr. Biden made no mention of climate reparations. That disappointed some activists and diplomats, particularly those from developing nations, who view it as a matter of justice.

“It’s fundamentally about who is most responsible,” said Fatima Denton, a Gambian scholar, longtime U.N. official and member of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group. “There’s a solidarity issue here that’s only going to become bigger as the crisis grows. Support for that idea is needed now.”

That is where the future is. And even a good solid liberal president like Joe Biden is nowhere close to even beginning to approach this. All that said, Biden is doing a good job committing the U.S. to promoting renewable energy and limiting methane. Too little, too late, but that’s far from his fault. And if a Republican ever takes the presidency again in this country, their first move will be to release more methane to own the libs. Hard to be a global leader on climate with our internal issues.

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