Biden Tries to Reassert American Leadership, and His Own

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News analysis

President Biden hoped his idiosyncratic benignant of politicking could assistance him physique planetary statement connected warring clime change. But arsenic helium has learned successful Washington, charm offensives person their limits.

President Biden astatine  the planetary  clime  acme  successful  Scotland connected  Tuesday. Back connected  the satellite   stage, helium  continued to trust  connected  personalized politics.
Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Katie Rogers

Nov. 2, 2021, 4:49 p.m. ET

GLASGOW — President Biden’s large extremity for his 2nd overseas travel since taking bureau was to reassert America’s quality to pb the satellite connected clime alteration earlier it is excessively late. But helium besides wanted to reassert Joe Biden.

From the infinitesimal helium landed successful Rome connected Friday for the Group of 20 meeting, and past traveled to the clime acme successful Glasgow, Mr. Biden took connected the relation of a traveling salesman, exulting successful the backslapping, personalized authorities that helium believes makes him a beardown negotiator and tin construe into substantive woody making.

“It ne'er ceases to amaze maine erstwhile you’re looking astatine idiosyncratic consecutive successful the oculus erstwhile you’re trying to get thing done,” Mr. Biden said successful a quality league successful Rome. “They cognize me. I cognize them. We tin get things done together.”

Mr. Biden did instrumentality immoderate wins backmost to Washington with him connected Tuesday night, including a caller planetary minimum tax for companies, arsenic good arsenic clime agreements to reduce methane emissions — a woody helium said was “the foundational commitment” of his medication — and deforestation. But if those deals were significant, they were mostly finalized earlier his trip.


Credit...Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Confronted with a deficiency of statement among satellite leaders connected however to determination guardant globally, and with his clime docket hanging successful the equilibrium successful Congress astatine home, Mr. Biden’s clip successful Glasgow laid bare the world that the idiosyncratic benignant helium prefers has not yet helped him adjacent the gulf betwixt his ambition and what helium has been capable to achieve.

“He enjoys the idiosyncratic broadside of idiosyncratic diplomacy,” said Richard Haass, a erstwhile elder State Department and nationalist information authoritative who is present president of the Council connected Foreign Relations. “My ain presumption is helium exaggerates its impact. All the charm successful the satellite is not going to bring Brazil astir connected the rainfall forests, oregon Australia astir connected coal, oregon China oregon Russia astir connected overmuch of anything.

“Diplomacy volition lone get him truthful far.”

In Glasgow, China and Russia, 2 of the world’s largest producers of greenhouse state emissions, sent negotiating teams to the conference, known arsenic COP, but not their leaders. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent lone a written statement, promising that his state “will proceed to prioritize ecological conservation and prosecute a greenish and low- c way to development.”

Dozens of different heads of authorities delivered introductory statements astir keeping shared clime goals live yet offered competing ideas for however to bash it.

“There’s simply nary consensus,” Mr. Haass added, “and the United States cannot lb the array and importune connected one.”

At a farewell quality conference, Mr. Biden, again seeking to asseverate American leadership, said that helium thought it was a “big mistake” for China not to amusement up astatine the conference. “They’ve mislaid their quality to power radical astir the world, and radical present astatine COP,” Mr. Biden said.

He suggested helium was unfastened to playing a agelong crippled erstwhile it comes to persuading China to travel to the table: He said that helium and Mr. Xi had astatine slightest a nascent narration from his clip arsenic vice president, and said they’ve spoken “at slightest 5 oregon six hours” by telephone since January.

But helium was besides fundamentally optimistic astir the quality of democracies to enactment together. Mr. Biden spent overmuch of his clip successful Glasgow telegraphing that helium is doing each helium tin with the powerfulness helium has, either done enforcement enactment oregon restoring the benignant of biology regulations that were eviscerated during the Trump era.

“We’re each connected the aforesaid squad with fundamentally the aforesaid issues,” helium said to allies, including Boris Johnson, Britain’s premier minister, and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, during a gathering connected a U.S.-sponsored planetary infrastructure initiative. “Democracy is inactive the champion mode for delivering results.”


Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

But the limits of those results could sometimes beryllium starkly evident: In a gathering astir the caller planetary pact to bounds methane emissions, organizers displayed a map showing the 90 countries who had signed the accord colored successful blue. Yet respective of the world’s large emitters, including China, Russia and India, appeared arsenic immense achromatic spaces, since they had not signed on.

Mr. Biden’s strategy was to dainty the lack of Mr. Xi and different rival, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, arsenic an accidental to beryllium that the world’s democracies tin deliver. Earlier successful the trip, his nationalist information adviser, Jake Sullivan, sought to ratchet up the unit connected China, telling reporters connected Air Force One en way to Glasgow that China had “an work to measurement up to greater ambition arsenic we spell forward.”

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese ministry, soon fired back, demanding that the United States enarthrosis much work for reducing greenhouse state contamination and supply much enactment to poorer countries deed hardest by the consequences of planetary warming.

“In particular, the clime policies of the United States, a large humanities emitter, person perpetually flipped and flopped and gone backward, and its ain emissions person reached a highest and begun to diminution lone successful caller years,” Mr. Wang said.

Yet beneath the bluster, the narration with China remains the astir captious going forward. Mr. Biden and Mr. Xi person not met successful idiosyncratic since Mr. Biden has been successful office, but are expected to hold a virtual meeting aboriginal this twelvemonth that officials person said could assistance the 2 men found ties.

The acme present volition proceed until Nov. 12 and Mr. Biden’s is leaving down a delegation led by John Kerry, who helped unafraid the Paris clime statement successful 2015 arsenic caput of authorities and present serves arsenic the Administration’s clime envoy. On Tuesday, Mr. Kerry said he expected caller fiscal commitments to fulfill a long-delayed committedness to supply $100 cardinal a twelvemonth successful assistance for processing countries to combat and accommodate to planetary warming, though it was unclear if each state would marque bully connected its pledges.


Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Throughout the trip, Mr. Biden, who faces dreary support numbers astatine home, appeared assured that the aforesaid measured attack helium took overseas would yet effect successful the transition of 2 cardinal bills that await him backmost successful Washington: a $1.85 trillion societal information nett measurement that includes provisions for cleanable energy, and a $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Representative Ro Khanna, a California Democrat who has been moving with the president to refashion his clime agenda, said successful an interrogation that Mr. Biden told him up of his travel to Europe that “American prestige” was connected the line.

The president, Mr. Khanna said, told him that “when helium meets with overseas leaders, they tout the benefits of autocracy and authoritarianism. He wants to beryllium capable to amusement that democracies tin govern and bash large things, and bash large things with the due speed.”

Mr. Biden is anxious to found himself arsenic a planetary person of corporate enactment connected clime policy. That’s a drastically antithetic tack than the attack taken by the Trump administration, which rolled backmost much than 100 biology extortion rules and, immoderate experts argue, accelerated the effects of clime change.

“The archetypal happening to bash is to halt the bleeding,” said Leah Stokes, an subordinate prof astatine the University of California, Santa Barbara, who works connected clime and the situation and has been advising Senate Democrats connected however to trade the legislation. “The adjacent happening to bash is marque progress, get backmost to the starting enactment and commencement going successful the close direction.”


Credit...Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

The advancement Mr. Biden had hoped for has been stalled by Democratic infighting successful Congress. The climate-focused measurement has been whittled down from its astir expansive form, successful ample portion due to the fact that Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia and 1 of the party’s two holdouts connected the spending package, said that helium would not ballot connected the bundle until helium knew much astir the plan.

But if Mr. Biden tin unafraid passage, the measure — which includes $555 cardinal to combat clime change, mostly done taxation incentives for low-emission sources of vigor — would beryllium the astir ambitious program adopted by the United States yet.

Mr. Manchin’s reluctance has not seemed to temper Mr. Biden’s optimism astir having the votes to walk his docket successful some chambers of Congress, with nary Republicans expected to enactment it.

“I judge that Joe volition beryllium there,” Mr. Biden said, referring to Mr. Manchin. “I deliberation we’ll get this done”

Chris Buckley contributed reporting from Sydney, and Somini Sengupta from Glasgow.

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