Expectations are Fading Fast for Glasgow Climate Summit
October 26, 2021
Expectations Are Fading Fast for Glasgow Climate Summit
October 26, 2021
JOE BIDEN WILL CONTINUE TO ASSURE WORLD LEADERS that the U.S. is committed to radical climate change, but he may travel empty-handed to this weekend’s Glasgow summit.
THE GLACIAL PACE OF NEGOTIATIONS over infrastructure spending and taxes virtually guarantees that Biden won’t get a final deal any time soon. The most he can hope for on infrastructure is an agreement in principle, with details not finalized for another few weeks.
THE CLIMATE PROVISIONS in the bill may get watered down further. Sen. Joe Manchin prevailed earlier this fall in killing a $150 billion plan to replace gas and coal fired power plants with wind and solar power — and now he wants more concessions.
IN A LAST-MINUTE SHIFT, Manchin is demanding that tough new taxes on methane emissions should be killed or watered down. This is one of many issues — including Medicare benefits and new taxes — that are holding up passage of a bill.
COMPLICATING BIDEN’S TRIP is an internal dispute among his advisors on how to confront China, a voracious energy consumer that needs more fossil fuels, mostly coal, to keep its factories and citizens warm this winter. China is the world’s largest emitter of carbon, with one-half of the world’s coal-fired plants.
BIDEN CLIMATE ADVISER JOHN KERRY wants warmer relations with China, and is urging the president to talk to Xi Jinping. But the Washington Post reports this morning that national security director Jake Sullivan is opposed to any concessions to Beijing. Disputes persist on trade, the treatment of Chinese dissidents, and Taiwan.
IN ANY EVENT, XI APPARENTLY WILL NOT ATTEND the Glasgow summit, which may end with the adoption of lofty goals that won’t be met. World leaders will debate slowing the increase of emissions and global temperatures; no one is talking about reducing them.
BIDEN’S BELEAGUERED ADVISERS are hoping for a happy photo-op with Pope Francis this weekend, but they have scaled back their goals for the climate summit. Biden will pledge to push ahead on emissions and alternative energy, but a global shortage of fossil fuels is a greater crisis right now than emissions.
IF THERE’S MEANINGFUL PROGRESS on climate change, we think it will come from the private sector; surging Tesla will be a role model. The simple fact is that there isn’t enough wind or solar power to turn this around any time soon, but modest progress is coming.
THE POLITICIANS HAVE A MADDENING HABIT of setting deadlines that can’t be met — and as a result, Glasgow could be viewed as a failure, as countries scramble for more fossil fuels. Winter is coming.
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