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At COP27, Biden Casts America as Climate Leader, While Activists Push Him to Do More

“It’s fundamentally about who is most responsible,” said Fatima Denton, a Gambian scholar, longtime U.N. official and member of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group. “There’s a solidarity issue here that’s only going to become bigger as the crisis grows. Support for that idea is needed now.”

Mr. Biden mentioned recent climate disasters that had caused misery and destruction in every part of the globe, explaining that no one was safe from the threat posed by a warming Earth, and that collective action was the only way to face the crisis. He exhorted other nations to follow America’s lead and increase their efforts to make swift and deep cuts to the pollution that is driving climate change.

“The United States is acting. Everyone has to act,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s a duty and responsibility of global leadership. Countries that are in a position to help should be supporting developing countries so they can make decisive climate decisions.”

“We’re racing forward to do our part to avert the climate hell that the U.N. secretary general so passionately warned about earlier this week,” he said.

He reiterated a 2021 pledge to provide $11.4 billion annually by 2024 to help developing countries transition to wind, solar and other renewable energy. That money, which is different from a loss and damage fund, was promised by wealthy nations under the 2015 Paris agreement. Last year, Mr. Biden secured just $1 billion toward that goal from Congress.

Mr. Biden noted that the new climate law in the United States would propel progress in batteries, hydrogen and other technology, and would encourage “a cycle of innovation” that would reduce costs, improve performance and benefit the world. “We’re going to help make the transition to a low-carbon future more affordable for everyone,” he said.

For the first time, Mr. Biden announced, the U.S. government will require domestic oil and gas producers to detect and fix leaks of methane, a greenhouse gas that traps about 80 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does in the short run. The fossil fuel industry is the biggest industrial source of methane emissions in the United States; the colorless, odorless gas leaks from pipelines and is often intentionally vented by gas producers. Stopping methane from escaping into the atmosphere is critical to slowing global warming, scientists say.

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