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CLIMATE CONTROL?! Secretary of State Blinken Says U.S. will ‘miss the chance to shape the world’s climate future’

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will say the U.S. is falling behind China in the race to seize opportunities created by climate change, in a speech that will cast the challenge of a warming planet as a chance to create more jobs and export American values.

In an address in Maryland on Monday afternoon, Blinken plans to say the U.S. will “miss the chance to shape the world’s climate future in a way that reflects our interests and values, and we’ll lose out on countless jobs for the American people” if it doesn’t catch up to China, according to prepared remarks of the speech shared with reporters.

He calls China “the largest producer and exporter of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles.”

Blinken’s speech is the first in a series of events planned ahead of a virtual summit that President Joe Biden is hosting later this week that will gather leaders of the world’s biggest polluters to discuss how to address global warming and other climate disasters.

Biden has put climate change at the center of his policies after four years in which former President Donald Trump largely dismissed the issue. Rather than frame the issue solely as an existential threat — Blinken will say that “goal No. 1 of our climate policy is preventing catastrophe” — the administration is also portraying it as a way to drive American innovation, jobs and global influence.

In keeping with the administration’s focus on infrastructure, Blinken is set to say the U.S. will have “a big stake” in how the globe will address a $4.6 trillion infrastructure gap by 2040. Filling that gap will benefit U.S. workers and could help spread transparency and workers’ rights, he argues.

“That’s an opportunity for us,” Blinken will say. “Our diplomats will challenge the practices of countries whose action – or inaction – is setting us back.”

To contact the reporter on this story:
Nick Wadhams in Washington at [email protected]