President Joe Biden’s ambitions to lead the world in slowing the planet’s warming will be tested on two continents this week as he travels to Scotland for the most important climate talks in years, while back home lawmakers come closer to making his visions a reality.
Already, Biden has been hampered somewhat by infighting among Democrats and entrenched fossil fuel interests, which have forced him to scale back some of the most audacious aspects of his climate agenda. Deep differences between world leaders also persist over money, national interests and responsibility.
The proposals currently pending in Congress, which Biden said Sunday he believes could pass this week, reflect historic investments in cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
His challenge this week is convincing fellow leaders that the US will remain committed to the cause, and to cajole them to do more themselves.
Biden’s failure to arrive in Glasgow with a legislative deal in hand has been downplayed by officials as having little effect on the views of the leaders at the summit itself, touting the bill as concrete evidence of the US climate commitment, with clear black-and-white details of the most significant climate action in American history.
Still, world leaders may be forgiven for appearing skeptical. After Barack Obama made combatting change a priority during his administration, Donald Trump reversed course, withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement and rolling back regulations on tailpipe emissions, power plants and more. And world leaders still remember the Kyoto Protocol, which the US refused to ratify.
Biden hopes for more durable climate commitments as part of the new spending plan but is still relying on the rule-making process for other items like cutting methane emissions.
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CNN’s Ella Nilsen contributed to this report.