The Biden administration will kick off a two-day virtual climate summit today.
After years of lackluster American initiative on environmental issues under President Trump, US President Joe Biden’s first few months in office have seen a return to US climate leadership. Upon taking office, Biden immediately rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. He has invited more than 40 heads of state and government to today’s global climate summit, where he will likely call for enhanced emissions targets.
The ambitiousness of Biden’s expected announcement will reveal the administration’s commitment to combating climate change. Under pressure from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, it is possible that Biden may place emissions targets at a goal of 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. Washington may also pledge funding for clean energy projects to less developed nations.
Although Democrats may struggle to push ambitious legislation—such as the recently re-introduced Green New Deal—through either chamber of Congress, the party may force Biden to adopt even more stringent environmental policies. In the medium-term, expect Biden to push for robust climate policies—such as increased green infrastructure funding—while avoiding controversial hawkish policies such as the institution of a carbon tax.
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Sinan is an analyst for the Current Developments Team and a regular contributor to the Daily Brief. A student of transatlantic affairs, he specialises in political, economic and energy affairs of Europe and the Middle East.