President Biden delivered his plans for cutting carbon emissions with a dose of hot air on Monday, as organizers of a global climate summit ‘gonged’ him for blasting past his allotted three minutes.
The famously talkative president pushed the benefits of a green economy saying the U.S. would lead by example.
Ignoring the audible warnings, he said the ‘eyes of history’ were on the delegates and unveiled a detailed plan to cut emissions on the path to a net zero carbon economy by 2050.
It will demonstrate to the world, he said, ‘the United States is not only back at the table, but hopefully leading by the power of our example.
‘I know it hasn’t been the case. And that’s why my administration is working overtime to show that our Climate Commitment is action, not words.’
World leaders were told to stick to three minutes for their speeches by organizers.
Transgressors were reminded of the limit by a gong ringing out every minute once their time was up.
Eight times it sounded for Biden.
The warning made little difference and he wrapped up after more than 11 minutes.
President Biden went eight minutes over his allotted time at COP26 and was ‘gonged’ eight times by organizers as they tried to hurry him along on Monday afternoon
Administration officials have made clear that U.S. leadership is the theme of their six-day trip to Europe.
They do not say it explicitly but they want to draw a line under the Trump years and and an ‘America First outlook.
In his speech, Biden outlined plans to set up a $3 billion-a-year fund to help developing nations adapt to a warming planet and spelled out the measures he wants to take to cut emissions at home.
‘We’re going to cut US greenhouse gas emissions by well over a gigatonne by 2030, while making it more affordable for consumers to save on their own energy bills with tax credits for things like installing solar panels, weatherizing their homes
‘Lowering energy prices will also deliver cleaner air and water for our children. Electrifying fleets of school buses, increasing credits for electric vehicles, and addressing legacy pollution
‘It will incentivize clean energy manufacturing, building the solar panels and wind turbines that are growing energy markets of the future, which will create good paying union jobs for American workers.’
He ended his lengthy speech with a twist to his usual sign-off.
‘God bless you all and may God save the planet,’ he said.
Earlier British Prime Minister Boris compared the crisis to the climax of a James Bond film when the hero has to thwart plans to blow up the planet, as he welcomed delegates to the summit.
But Mr Johnson went on to say ‘this is not a movie’ and the ‘doomsday device is real’ as he urged his counterparts to do more to reduce harmful emissions.
The premier said the longer countries wait to take action then ‘the higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act’.
‘Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change,’ he said. ‘It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now.’
Johnson used his speech as a rallying cry to try to build momentum as he welcomed foreign leaders to Glasgow after securing only lukewarm commitments at the G20 summit in Rome over the weekend.
TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough also offered an apocalyptic warning.
He asked: ‘Is this how our story is due to end – a tale of the smartest species doomed by that all too human characteristic of failing to see the bigger picture in pursuit of short-term goals?”
The problems of the world’s reliance on fossil fuels was inadvertently highlighted by Biden himself when he touched down in Scotland and then climbing into a huge motorcade to travel to the climate summit.
After making the short hop from Rome in Air Force One – a modified 747 – his gas-guzzling convoy of more than 20 vehicles will raise fresh criticisms of hypocrisy.
At the G20 in Rome he used an 85-vehicle convoy, including vans for officials, secret service and journalists, as well as ambulances and communications systems.
Biden arrived from a G20 summit in Rome where he touted the power of America ‘showing up.’
The premier said the longer countries wait to take action then ‘the higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act’. Mr Johnson is pictured welcoming Joe Biden to the summit today
President Biden’s motorcade burned through the Central Belt of Scotland from Edinburgh Airport to Glasgow on Monday
It comprised more than 20 vehicles – plus police outriders – but was modest compared with the 85 vehicles he used in Rome
Biden’s six-day trip to Europe will release an estimated two million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
President Biden touched down at Edinburgh Airport on Monday morning ahead of arriving at the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, after making the short hop from Rome, Italy
Air Force landed in Scotland on Monday morning. Biden has been criticized for the amount of carbon emitted by his fleet of aircraft and cars during his Europe trip
Environmental campaigners with ‘big heads’ of key world leaders, including Biden, dressed in kilts gathered in Glasgow, marking the start of the Cop26 summit in the city on Monday
‘What we’ve seen again here in Rome is what I think is the power of America showing up and working with our allies and partners to make progress in issues that matter to all of us,’ he said, adding that allies wanted ‘American leadership’ to get things done.
He claimed other leaders sought him out as he fended off a question about whether he could provide leadership amid falling poll numbers at home.
‘The United States of America is the most critical part of this entire agenda, and we did it,’ Biden said.
However, skeptics say few concrete measures were agreed on how to keep the world to temperature rises of less than 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels – a target set at the Paris climate summit in 2015.
And Biden lost key clean energy pledges from his Build Back Better agenda in recent weeks as the price for winning over opponents in his own party to its huge $3.5 trillion cost.
The Supreme Court could yet strip his administration of more powers to limit emissions.
Then there is the awkward matter of his travel arrangements.
His trip to Europe is estimated to release 2.2 million pounds of carbon.
The gigantic carbon footprint is comprised of 2.16 million pounds of carbon dioxide generated by the four large planes that comprise his airborne entourage on the trip to Italy and Scotland, where the president will speak at the COP26 summit on change in Glasgow, with the remainder emitted by Biden’s cars.
His fleet is comprised of the heavily modified Boeing 747 he travels on, known as Air Force One when the president is on board, an identical decoy, and two huge C-17 Globemaster planes to carry his battalion of cars and helicopters.
Even so, his officials frequently talked up the power of US leadership before the summit.
‘The US is stepping up to do its part key,’ said Jake Sullivan aboard Air Force One en route to Edinburgh on Monday morning.
‘US allies Japan, Korea, the European Union, Canada, others are stepping up to do their part.
‘And now the question is: Will some of the remaining countries step up to do theirs?’
Biden addressed a press conference at the end of the G20 summit in Rome. He talked about climate change and his domestic legislative agenda but things took a deeply personal turn when he was asked about his meeting with the pope on Friday
US President Joe Biden speaks at the beginning of a meeting about the global supply chain, during the G20 Summit at the Roma Convention Center
Biden’s climate adviser Gina McCarthy echoed the sentiment in a briefing with reporters.
‘This is a message you’re going to see from the president over the next two days and from dozens of cabinet officials who will be in Glasgow over the next two weeks: the United States is back at the table, we’re back, hoping to rally the world to tackle the climate crisis,’ he said.
She said the U.S. would release a plan to show it can half U.S. carbon emissions by 2023 from 2005 levels en route to its net-zero target by 2050.
‘It illustrates how, within three decades, the U.S. can meet our global climate commitments by decarbonizing the power sector, electrifying transportation and buildings, transforming industry, reducing non-CO2 emissions, and reinvigorating our natural lands,’ she said.
Special climate envoy John Kerry also pushed back on criticism that COP 26 was getting off to a lackluster start, with only modest action on the 1.5C target in Rome.
He said nations representing 65 percent of the world’s GDP were committed to the effort.
‘Obviously, if you have 65% in, you got 35% out, and that’s the challenge coming out of Glasgow,’ he said.
‘Can those countries step up? How fast will they step up? What will they pledge to do over the course of the next years?’
Summit host Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, lambasted G20 leaders on Sunday, saying only 12 of 20 had promised concrete action on hitting net zero emissions by 2050.
‘Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change,’ he is expected to say during Monday’s opening session, according to speech excerpts released by his office.
‘It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now.’
Source: Daily Mail