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Opinion |  Biden climate summit won’t save the world


President Biden could help disrupt our current world order, redirecting the generous financial and diplomatic support the United States has offered issuers to the common good. Declaring a national emergency, for example, would unlock the power to reinstate the export ban on crude oil, lifted just days after the Paris Agreement was negotiated.

The United States could push creditors, including China, to adopt comprehensive debt relief. Alleviating this burden is a prerequisite for many countries to deal with worsening weather conditions. Relief could prevent them from turning to the cash promised by oil and gas development. This should be coupled with a move away from climate finance for onerous new debt, as loans now account for a large majority of public climate finance. A US $ 800 billion commitment through 2030 to global mitigation, adaptation and recovery efforts would set a standard for countries to pay their fair share.

The State Department may urge colleagues in the Group of 20 to follow up on long-standing calls to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. Most importantly, the ministry could work with other oil-producing countries to ensure that those whose public budgets depend on oil revenues – facing a $ 9 trillion deficit – do not violently collapse out of the country. era of fossil fuels.

There are a lot of signs of progress. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai pledged to prioritize climate action, calling on the multilateral trading system to put “countries with higher environmental standards at a competitive disadvantage.” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is backing the issuance of $ 650 billion in funds via IMF Special Drawing Rights to aid global recovery efforts – a laudable sum, but well below the $ 3 trillion demanded by the groups. Civil society. Mr. Biden wants to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. Amid growing rhetoric from U.S. officials about China, the president’s climate envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart agreed their countries would cooperate on the climate crisis. And beyond requiring banks to disclose climate risks – a demand increasingly popular among Democrats – financial regulators under existing Dodd-Frank powers could discourage and even ban Wall Street investments in fuels. fossils, a means of limiting risks to the stability of the financial system such as the climate crisis.

But if polls by Data for Progress, a progressive think tank, show that a Green New Deal and climate-smart trade policy are popular among voters, any foreign policy change on the scale demanded by the crisis must survive a total onslaught from voters. the fossil fuel industry, the lawmakers it funds, and a foreign policy establishment determined to put America firmly at the top of its beloved rules-based international order. These fights are inevitable and worth organizing.

As with the pandemic, global cooperation in the climate crisis is essential – as is the reduction in corporate power. We’re all together on this sick little ship. Let’s try not to crash it.

Ms. Aronoff is an editor at The New Republic and author of “Overheated: How Capitalism Broke the Planet – And How We Fight Back”.

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