Pres. Joe Biden today apologized before an international audience in Egypt for the 2020 U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement as he began his remarks at the UN’s annual climate summit.
Biden’s remarks to delegates from almost 200 nations at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the original UN climate-change talks focused on urging them to renew their commitment to reducing global warming by 1.5° Celsius and pledging renewed American leadership on the issue.
Although the US so far has failed to keep up its end of the bargain, Biden vowed that the U.S. would meet its emissions goals by 2030.
He touted the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as the biggest investment to tackle climate change in decades, despite concern from environmental justice activists who say the IRA doesn’t go far enough and will also do some harm. And some of Biden’s own executive actions and backing of legislation have gone against his own climate goals.
Biden also renewed his pledge to provide $11.4 billion annually to help other nations transition to sustainable energy, though much of that will be dependent on the approval of Congress. So far, Congress has approved$1 billion toward that effort.
He also reiterated his apology for the U.S. withdrawal, under Pres. Donald Trump in 2020, from the Paris Climate Agreement. “We immediately rejoined the Paris Agreement,” after Trump left office, Biden said. “I apologize that we ever pulled out of the agreement.”
At one point during the president’s speech, protesters began to howl, but were removed by security, the New York Times reported.
In a statement to TYT, Juan Jhong-Chung from the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition said the Biden administration should “reassert their commitment to Environmental Justice by declaring a climate emergency and phasing out all fossil fuel development in the United States."
Although Biden has embraced an all-of-the-above approach, including fossil fuels, Jhong-Chung said the U.S. “must reject the expansion of oil and gas infrastructure and false solutions such as carbon capture, hydrogen, nuclear energy and other polluting schemes.”
Biden has been a supporter of Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) proposed legislation to fast-track permitting for fossil fuel projects, a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. As TYT reported in September, environmental activists and 77 Democratic members of Congress effectively halted the bill from being pushed through as part of a must-pass government funding measure.
According to a White House pool report, when asked as he was leaving COP27 how he plans to convince Republicans to fund his climate initiatives, Biden replied, “Reality.”
TYT Washington Correspondent Candice Cole was previously a correspondent and senior White House producer for the Black News Channel and has worked at a number of local news outlets. You can find her on Twitter @CandiceColeNews.