The Big Picture

US Climate Mantle in Peril

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AP21305556922363-Joe Biden COP26 Summit Glasgow
  • Washington’s leadership on climate looks vulnerable as stumbling blocks to aggressive action pile up at home.
  • Many observers believe the administration’s climate focus has exacerbated a muddled reaction to rising oil and gas prices. 
  • Sharpened US vulnerabilities — on climate action and high prices — come as the private sector is also rethinking its previously charted decarbonization pathway.

After four years of the US sitting out — if not actively opposing — climate action, the intense focus of the administration of US President Joe Biden on UN climate talks last year was intended to send the message that the US was back. The US, with the EU, delivered a widely subscribed pledge on reducing methane emissions while Climate Envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua presented a joint climate action plan, assuaging fears that fraught relations between the two superpowers would scupper any chances of coordination. But six months later, US leadership on the energy transition is dragging, as domestic opposition to climate action festers.

Policy and Regulation, Resource Access, Elections, Low-Carbon Policy, Methane Emissions
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