COP26 must throw open the US as the center of climate denial – 10/17/2021 – Mathias Alencastro

After last year’s traumatic election, the most optimistic predicted that Joe Biden would re-enact the feat of Lyndon Johnson, the tenacious president who overcame Senate resistance in the battle for civil rights and would transform the United States.

The past few weeks have shown that nothing will be easy for the Democrat. The core element of its climate policy, a stimulus package to accelerate the energy transition, is being fought by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a longtime advocate of the fossil energy cause.

The announced failure of the Biden government’s domestic agenda is a major condition at COP26, which will be dominated by competition between superpowers.

Washington has spent all of its diplomatic capital trying to take over the climate negotiations. Biden plans to send half of his ministerial cabinet to Glasgow in a delegation led by special climate envoy John Kerry.

Out there

Its aim is to restore US global leadership after giving way to China during the pandemic.

The time is right. For the first time, Beijing will take the field as the world’s biggest pollutant. Alone, China surpasses in emissions all the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries together — in terms of per capita pollution, the reality is different.

Aware of the risk of the COP turning into an anti-China operation, Xi Jinping has yet to confirm his presence.

However, unable to deliver a domestic agenda to match his ambitions, Biden will be seen as a lame duck at Glasgow’s grand table. There, everyone knows that, in addition to being held hostage by a mere senator, he has to live with the trumpist threat, the greatest negationist force in the world.

The Democrat’s fine words at the COP could turn to dust after midterm elections in 2022.

The Biden government’s bargaining power is also conditioned by the fear of giving China ground on other strategic matters. If the American president cites the climate as an absolute priority and his special envoy Kerry has unquestionable global prestige, the bureaucratic reality is different.

As has become clear in relations with Brazil, where National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Kerry maintained contradictory speeches about the Bolsonaro government, the climate agenda, in the minds of top American officials, can never advance at the expense of concessions in Defense and technology .

Climate policy is a two-sided game. China is a leader in the renewable industry and the biggest consumer of coal. In Europe, France and Germany are at the forefront of environmental measures, but do not hesitate to hand over polluting industries to Eastern countries.

China, Middle Land

The United States can barely sustain the myth of Janus, the Roman god of change and transition. Biden’s wonderful speech has nothing to do with the brutal reality of American backwardness.

The implications are global. Over the past decade, the United States has become the largest global producer of oil and gas. The other countries in the ranking, such as Russia, Canada and Saudi Arabia, will never feel obliged to change their energy paradigm while Washington is in front of the barricade.

Glasgow must throw open a paradox: the bid for Biden’s pro-climate agenda only served to reveal Washington as the capital of climate denial.

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