POLITICO: ‘America’s climate push is in peril’ – ‘Stalled climate action all but guarantees the U.S. won’t do its part to meet goals of 2015 UN Paris climate accords’
The great climate muddle — After his inauguration, President Joe Biden charged into the Oval Office and drafted a series of game-changing, economy-altering plans to save the planet from a slow-creep heat death.
A year and change later, progress has been slow. And Biden’s toolbox may be shrinking.
Republicans wary of climate action are expected to take back the House in November and possibly the Senate, too.
And the Supreme Court is poised to hobble the administration’s ability to regulate carbon pollution. Plus, soaring gasoline prices have slowed climate momentum.
The world’s a jumble, too
The United States is not the only distracted country. Climate change has taken a back seat to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at this year’s Group of 7 leaders’ summit, which began Sunday in the Bavarian Alps.
Summit leaders are weighing a price cap on Russian oil, having learned the perils of imposing a full embargo after early efforts sent prices soaring, catalyzed a gas supply crisis and led to consumer backlash here and in Europe.
But reducing reliance on Russia could potentially drive leaders to backtrack on their commitments to end international fossil fuel investments this year. Biden himself has backed an increase of domestic fuel production as a short-term solution.
Time is of the essence
Stalled climate action all but guarantees the United States won’t do its part to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accords.
The latest U.N. climate report found that preventing global warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels, or ideally 1.5 degrees C, will require a fundamental overhaul of nearly all aspects of human life.
The planet has already warmed by more than 1 C, meaning both targets are rapidly approaching.
Of course, Washington isn’t the only driver of climate action. Cities, states and the private sector are making commitments to cut carbon, and entire industries that produce and rely on energy are in the grip of massive changes.
These include the rise of renewables and decline of coal, pledges by multiple automakers to adopt all-electric fleets, and other assurances that major corporations are making to their shareholders and customers.
But here’s the reality check: Most experts agree there’s a limit to how much can be achieved without a coordinated national response from the United States.
What do you think: Where will ambitious climate action come from, if at all? Who will lead the way?
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