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COP26: Biden sends 12 cabinet members and high-level officials to UN climate summit


The president is sending 12 cabinet members and senior administration officials, including his top national and international climate advisers Gina McCarthy and John Kerry, according to a schedule obtained by CNN.

Biden also plans to attend the conference.

Kerry, who is Biden’s special presidential climate envoy and engaged in global climate diplomacy last year, will attend the conference throughout its duration. McCarthy and Biden will attend the start of the conference to highlight what the United States is doing to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and meet Biden’s Paris Climate Agreement target of reducing emissions 50 to 52% of 2005 levels by 2030.

In addition to Kerry and McCarthy, the officials present are: Secretary of State Tony Blinken; Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg; Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm; EPA administrator Michael Regan; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Home Secretary Deb Haaland; Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen; USAID Administrator Samantha Power; NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad; and WH science and technology policy director Eric Lander.

“In Glasgow, the United States will present President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis,” a White House official told CNN. “They will demonstrate the strength of the entire U.S. government working together to reduce emissions and meet our international climate commitments – and that countries that take decisive climate action will reap the economic and job benefits of the future of clean energy. ”

The White House official added that US officials will encourage other countries to take decisive action to keep 1.5 degrees of global warming within reach, especially as the world is currently on a path to achieve 2.7 degrees of global warming without significant reduction in emissions.

COP26: Biden sends 12 cabinet members and high-level officials to UN climate summit
The big question is whether Biden will be able to make it to the COP with concrete commitments from the United States. Much of the president’s climate agenda depends on Congress and its ability to pass the president’s massive budget and climate bill before COP26 begins. The fate of this bill is uncertain, as negotiations between members of Biden’s own party extend with little clarity on an end date.
Some Democratic senators recently told CNN they were concerned about whether Congress would pass critical climate investments ahead of the international summit.

“It’s a real concern,” Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware told CNN. “I think it is essential that we go to Glasgow with President Biden’s package of proposals to move forward.”

“I am worried if this is happening, and we cannot let this happen,” Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon told CNN. “America must lead the world on this point.”