Can the U.S. Win Back Its Climate Credibility?

At a summit he convened, the president discovered how difficult it will be to re-establish America as an environmental leader.,

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Can the U.S. Win Back Its Climate Credibility?

At a summit he convened, the president discovered how difficult it will be to re-establish America as an environmental leader.

Hosted by Astead Herndon; produced by Luke Vander Ploeg, Michael Simon Johnson, Diana Nguyen and Stella Tan; edited by Dave Shaw, Marc Georges and Paige Cowett; and engineered by Chris Wood.

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April 27, 2021, 5:55 a.m. ET

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It wasn’t quite how he imagined it on the campaign trail, but last week President Biden held his long-promised global climate summit, attended by leaders from all over the world, via video link.

Mr. Biden signaled America’s commitment to fighting climate change with an ambitious target: The United States will cut its economywide carbon emissions by 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

But it became clear during the meeting that the rest of the world has become cautious about following the United States’ lead. Policies have repeatedly shifted from one administration to the next — first with George W. Bush undoing Bill Clinton’s attempt to join the Kyoto Protocol, and then with Donald J. Trump pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, negotiated by Barack Obama.

What happened at Mr. Biden’s summit and how can the U.S. regain its credibility in the struggle against climate change?

On today’s episode

Coral Davenport, who covers energy and environmental policy for The New York Times, with a focus on climate change.

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A monitor in the East Room of the White House showed summit participants on Thursday.Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

Background reading

At the virtual summit meeting he convened, Mr. Biden cast the fight against global warming as an economic opportunity for the world and committed the U.S. to cutting its carbon emissions by half.

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Coral Davenport contributed reporting.

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