After the summit: Biden’s to-do list

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So yes, that White House global summit happened.

President Biden used the occasion to announce that his administration would seek to rapidly reduce the planet-warming emissions that the United States pumps into the atmosphere and would spend a ton of money to transform the American economy from one that relies heavily on fossil fuels to one that is more green. The goal was to convey to the rest of the world that America is doing is part, and everyone else should also step up and address climate change.

“Now comes the hard part,” as I wrote Friday at the conclusion of the summit. The White House has a tough to-do list if it wants to be a global climate leader.

It has to persuade Congress to pour money into its climate plan, not just for building green infrastructure at home, but also for grants and loans it says it will offer to poor countries around the world to adapt to the effects of warming. Without serious money and rapid emissions reductions at home, analysts noted, the United States is likely to have a hard time persuading recalcitrant governments hooked on coal, oil and gas.

The biggest diplomatic test for the administration is how to deal with its main rival on the world stage: China, which currently produces the largest share of global greenhouse gas emissions, while the United States is responsible for the largest share of emissions since the start of the industrial era.

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