Climate change will dominate Biden’s agenda when he heads to Europe in two weeks

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks and participates in the Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate Session 5: Economic Opportunities for Climate Action from the White House in Washington, DC, on April 23, 2021.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Europe within two weeks, the White House said in a statement Thursday, with the global climate crisis high on the president’s agenda.

The trip will mark the second foreign trip of the Biden presidency, and comes as he attempts to take action to counter the threats of global climate change. It also indicates his re-engagement with global allies in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s troubled relations with other countries.

Biden will visit Vatican City for the first time on October 29 to meet with Pope Francis. The statement said they intended to discuss efforts to combat the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and poverty, among other controversial global issues.

According to the press release, the president will then attend a two-day summit of G20 leaders in Rome.

Leaders are expected to decide whether to approve an international tax plan drawn up by the G20 financial leaders in July. The plan would set a global minimum corporate tax of at least 15%, and change the way companies like Amazon and Alphabet’s Google are taxed.

The press release said that details regarding the individual binary entries will be released soon.

Biden will conclude his trip by traveling to Glasgow, Scotland, where he will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, from November 1-2, according to the press release.

COP26, originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic, will see world leaders meet to discuss more ambitious climate action as UN researchers warn global warming is about to spiral out of control.

The United Nations issued a damning report in August that issued a stark warning about climate change. In the first batch of four reports released under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, researchers observed changes in climate that were expected to be “irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years”.

For example, reports have found that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are responsible for about 1.1°C of warming from about 1850-1900 until today. It also found that global temperature is projected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of average warming over the next 20 years.

The Biden administration has pledged to nearly halve US greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieve a zero-economy by mid-century. The Obama administration has set a goal of cutting emissions up to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, but Trump has halted federal efforts to achieve that goal.

In May, the president also issued an executive order demanding the development of a government-wide climate change risk strategy, and an annual assessment of climate-related financial risks in the United States budget.

Democrats are trying to pass a bill that would encourage green energy and climate-resilient buildings and infrastructure as part of the president’s economic plan.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suggested that Democrats will likely have to cut $1 trillion or more from their $3.5 million Social Safety Net and Climate proposal to push it through Congress amid disagreements between the party’s progressive and moderate wings.


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