Biden speaks at UN Climate Summit in Scotland

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President Joe Biden is speaking at the UN Climate Summit in Scotland Monday morning, urging fellow nations to lower their emissions just two days after he slammed Russia and Saudi Arabia for not producing enough oil.

Upon his arrival at the Edinburgh Airport, Biden was greeted by T.H. Philip Reeker, Chargé d’affaires and Embassy of the United States to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Councilor Frank Ross, the Right Honorable Lord Provost and Lord Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh; and Nicholas Jarrold, the Special Representative of the Foreign Secretary.

From there, the group traveled by car to Glasgow, where the COP26 Summit is being held. 

During his address Biden is expected to detail a long-term plan to show how the U.S. can cut carbon emissions in half by 2030. 

“It illustrates how, within three decades, the U.S. can meet our global climate commitments by decarbonizing the power sector, electrifying transportation and buildings, transforming industry, reducing non-CO2 emissions, and reinvigorating our natural lands,” Climate adviser Gina McCarthy told reporters. 

“It illustrates how, within three decades, the U.S. can meet our global climate commitments by decarbonizing the power sector, electrifying transportation and buildings, transforming industry, reducing non-CO2 emissions, and reinvigorating our natural lands,” Climate adviser Gina McCarthy told reporters. 

“It illustrates how, within three decades, the U.S. can meet our global climate commitments by decarbonizing the power sector, electrifying transportation and buildings, transforming industry, reducing non-CO2 emissions, and reinvigorating our natural lands,” Climate adviser Gina McCarthy told reporters. 

Biden is also expected to announce a new program to help developing countries “adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change through locally-led development” in the same time frame. 

US President Joe Biden arrives at the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Scotland on November 1, 2021.
US President Joe Biden arrives at the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Scotland on November 1, 2021.
ADRIAN DENNIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The COP26 comes just after the G20 Leaders Summit, where the president held a press conference Saturday and called the call for a quick shift to renewable energy “not rational.”

Biden was pressed on the inconsistency between urging fellow oil producers to increase production while telling allies at the COP26 to find solutions to lower greenhouse gas emissions. 

“Well, on the surface, it seems like an irony, but the truth of the matter is — you’ve all known; everyone knows — that the idea we’re going to be able to move to renewable energy overnight and not have — from this moment on, not use oil or not use gas or not use hydrogen is just not rational,” Biden told reporters, adding that the US should be moving to immediately ending the use of methane. 

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (right) greet President Biden at the COP26 conference.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (right) greet President Biden at the COP26 conference.
Christopher Furlong/Pool via REUTERS

“But it does, on the surface, seem inconsistent, but it’s not at all inconsistent in that no one has anticipated that this year we’d be in a position — or even next year — that we’re not going to use any more oil or gas; that we’re not going to be engaged in any fossil fuels.  We’re going to stop subsidizing those fossil fuels.  We’re going to be making significant changes.”

Biden was pressed further, specifically on the issue of gas prices as Americans have seen skyrocketing prices in recent months. 

“You know, when you raise the price of something, people will consume less of it.  So why not allow even middle-class people around the world to pay more for gasoline in the hope that they would consume fewer fossil fuels and emit less?” Biden was asked. 

President Joe Biden is set to speak at the COP26 urging fellow nations to lower their emissions.
President Joe Biden is set to speak at the COP26 urging fellow nations to lower their emissions.
Adrian Dennis/Pool via AP

The president defended drivers, saying the idea that there’s an alternative than getting in your car is “just not realistic.” Biden then put the blame on other nations for not producing enough oil to lower prices, after he canceled a number of domestic pipeline projects in his first week in office.

“But I do think that the idea that Russia and Saudi Arabia and other major producers are not going to pump more oil so people can have gasoline to get to and from work, for example, is — is — is not — is not right.  But — and what we’re considering doing on that, I’m reluctant to say before I have to do it,” he said. 

As the president and US officials arrive in Scotland to discuss the climate crisis with fellow nations, Biden has come under scrutiny over another seemingly ironic situation amid his push to lower fossil fuels. 

On Friday, Biden cruised through Rome with an 85-vehicle motorcade — drawing criticism for the poor optics. It was unclear how many of the motorcade vehicles are electric plug-ins or hybrids.

“#Decarbonize this,” one person captioned the video.

“America’s Marie Antoinette class is Washington’s elites – and that shows it,” another person responded.

Some climate experts have questioned whether Biden will be able to deliver results at and following the summit, with one advising to set “low expectations.” 

“I think it’s critical to have low expectations from Glasgow, but celebrate any step forward,” Andrea Zanon, a former World Bank consultant and clean energy investor told NBC News. “These events unfortunately are messy. They are very bureaucratic. But the geopolitics of climate have never been so strong.”

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