President Biden Delivered Defense of US Leadership at COP27

President Biden Delivered Defense of US Leadership at COP27

President Biden arrived at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh with a clear message: the US is walking the climate walk at home, while urging leadership in the developed world to help the developing world meet the climate challenge on mitigation and adaptation through loss and damage funding.

The President's impact was also felt in Egypt even after he'd departed. His meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in Bali at the G20 gathering, helped restore the US-China climate talks that China had canceled earlier this year in protest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan."

Why This Matters

On the main stage in Egypt the President delivered his biggest global climate message in months. In his speech, Biden highlighted the benefits of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Finance (BIF) package as well as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) stressing that, combined, they’d mobilize $368 billion in support of clean electricity, making “our power grid better able to transmit clean energy, expanding public transit and rail, [and] building a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations.”

The President said current policies would "reduce emissions in the US by about 1 billion tons in 2030 while unleashing a new era of clean-energy-powered economic growth.” And that’s not all -- "the sum total of the actions my administration is taking puts the United States on track to achieve our Paris Agreement goal of reducing emissions by 50 to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030,” an important source of US credibility in the President’s efforts to recast the nation as a climate leader.

DW: US President Biden delivers address at COP27 climate summit, November 11, 2021.

ABC: Biden speaks with President Xi Jinping on US and China relations, Nov 14, 2022.

Bloomberg: How China Plans to Win the Future of Energy, March 15, 2022.

The US is Finally Walking the Walk

President Biden also made it clear that the US will "make the transition to a low-carbon future more affordable for everyone, [and] accelerate decarbonation beyond our borders.” He empathized with developing nations calling for global help, acknowledging "the climate crisis is hitting hardest those countries and communities that have the fewest resources to respond and to recover.”

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Biden cited the following initiatives as evidence of his Administration’s global commitment:

  • Last year, he committed to work with our Congress to quadruple US support to climate finance and provide $11 billion annually by 2024, including $3 billion for adaptation.
  • The President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) to help more than half a billion people in developing countries respond to climate change.
  • $150 million in initiatives that specifically support PREPARE’s adaptation efforts throughout Africa, including the Adaptation in Africa effort that Egypt and the US launched in June.
  • The US became the first-ever contributor to the Adaptation Fund last year. This year, the President plans to double the original pledge, bringing the total US commitment to $100 million.
  • Support for the Global Shield, a G7 initiative to better protect vulnerable countries everywhere from climate-related losses and quickly respond to climate-related damages.
  • The G7-led Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment to meet the critical infrastructure needs in low- and middle-income countries with specific focus on climate.

Throughout his speech, Biden also underscored two important themes we’ve stressed in Front Lines. First, climate action is good for the economy -- everywhere. As the President said, "we are proving that good climate policy is good economic policy.”

Second, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a reason to accelerate progress on clean energy -- not to weaken it. In Biden’s words:

Russia’s war only enhances the urgency of the need to transition the world off its dependence on fossil fuels. True energy security means every nation -- it means that every nation is benefiting from a clean, diversified energy future. No action -- no action can be taken without a nation understanding that it can use energy as a weapon and hold the global economy hostage.  It must stop.

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DW: Last 8 years set to be hottest on record as world leaders meet at COP27, November 6, 2022.

Now This: Rep Says Tackling the Climate Crisis Is Good for the Economy, June 30, 2021.

BBC: Who is most affected by climate change and who should tackle it?, November 14, 2021.