The United States wants to show at the COP26 international climate summit that it is once again taking the lead in tackling climate change.
Climate envoy John Kerry said the goal is “to have significantly increased international ambition by leaving Glasgow” so that the world is better able to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels times.
Kerry pointed to the “heavy” delegation his country is sending to the UK for COP26. It consists of ministers, heads of government services and dozens of MPs. In addition, President Joe Biden is expected there on Monday and will fly back to the US the following day. Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, he sees tackling climate change as one of his spearheads.
Climate adviser Gina McCarthy told the press that Biden and his top officials would send a clear message during COP26. “The US is back in. We’re back. And we hope to mobilize the world to tackle the climate crisis.”
Despite Biden’s major international climate ambitions, his domestic climate agenda struggles to get off the ground. In the run-up to COP26, the Democrats failed to get ambitious climate plans through the US Congress. As a result, Republicans do not support the plans, and some Democrats are also opposed.
Climate policy in the US has been politically sensitive for decades. President Bill Clinton supported the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. His successor George W. Bush subsequently withdrew from that agreement. Under President Barack Obama, the US signed up for the 2015 Paris climate agreement. His successor Donald Trump later reversed that. Biden subsequently reversed that decision.