December 7, 2021

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Biden heads to global climate summit with agenda still half-baked – POLITICO

2 min read

Democrats are eyeing an investment of $555 billion in climate change programs. Remaining points of negotiation include how to reinvest $150 billion toward a clean electricity program scuttled by Manchin, as well as whether to assess a fee on methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas.

“That’s a lovely top-line number,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), a progressive climate advocate, quipped. “But the details really matter, including where the balance of some of that is being spent.” At the same time, he added, “we all want the president to have as much stature and credibility as possible on the world stage.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a top climate hawk, said success or failure for Biden will depend on the net reduction in emissions that the package could achieve.

“Alone, it does not do much,” Whitehouse said of the price tag for the climate portions of the bill.

Whitehouse and other climate hawks say they’re flexible about the policies deployed, as long as they cumulatively limit emissions at levels to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius.

“It’s less about the number and it’s more about what it funds,” added Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who serves on the Energy and Intelligence committees. “You can make $500-600 [billion] add up to the goals that [Biden] has articulated consistently. So long as we have the right investments, he’ll be able to go make a very credible case at Glasgow that we’re back and we’re leading.”

Biden’s Democratic allies said it was important for the party to have a united front on combating climate change as the president prepares for the COP26 summit. That would help Biden make the case that while the U.S. hasn’t yet crossed the finish line, there’s sufficient support on Capitol Hill to get it done.

“It’d be much better to have a deal in place before he leaves, but I think the writing’s on the wall that we’re very close to passing the most significant piece of legislation in the history of the country,” added Murphy.

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