President Joe Biden’s critics noticed something funny in a video from his time at the G20 summit on Sunday.
Preparing to take questions from reporters, Biden grabbed a “cheat sheet” and admitted he was instructed to use a list and specific orders by his handlers.
“And now I’m happy to take some questions,” the 45th president said. “And I’m told I should start with AP, Zeke Miller. Zeke, you have a question?”
Biden then scanned the crowd but said he couldn’t recognize the pre-approved reporter because of his mask.
You can see the video below —
At G20 Summit, Joe Biden takes questions, but only from a pre-approved list of reporters. pic.twitter.com/KFcqw10YJ9
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) October 31, 2021
Biden’s not-yet-one-year-old administration’s climate efforts have largely stalled in a divided Congress, but he touted “the power of America showing up.” Air Force One touched down Monday morning in grey Glasgow for the summit, on the heels of separate Group of 20 talks in Rome over the weekend.
The Glasgow summit is part of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord into action.
But Biden and his administration face obstacles in prodding the United States and other nations to act fast enough on climate, abroad as at home.
In the runup to the summit, the administration has tried hard to temper expectations that two weeks of talks involving more than 100 world leaders.
Rather than a breakthrough, “Glasgow is the beginning of this decade race, if you will,” Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, told reporters Sunday.
As the summit opens, the United States is still struggling to get some of the world’s biggest climate polluters — China, Russia, and India — to join the U.S. and its allies in stronger pledges to burn far less coal, gas, and oil and to move to cleaner energy.
Kerry on Sunday defended the outcome of a summit of the Group of 20 leading economies that ended earlier that day in Rome. The G-20 meeting was supposed to create momentum for more climate progress in Glasgow, and leaders at the Italy summit did agree on a series of measures, including formalizing a pledge to cut off international subsidies for dirty-burning, coal-fired power plants.
Biden also praised a U.S.-European Union steel agreement announced Sunday as a chance to curb imports of “dirty” Chinese steel forged by coal power.
But in reality, G-20 leaders offered more vague promises than commitments of firm action, saying they would seek carbon neutrality “by or around mid-century.”
Major polluters like China and Russia have made clear they had no immediate intention of following the U.S. and its European and Asian allies to zero out all fossil fuel pollution by 2050. The world currently is on track for a level of warming that would melt much of the planet’s ice, raise global sea levels, and greatly increase the likelihood and intensity of extreme weather, experts say.
Biden admitted Sunday night he found the outcome of the Rome summit “disappointing,” countering the positive statements from his aides. And he blamed two rivals of the U.S.
“The disappointment relates to the fact that Russia, and … not only Russia but China basically didn’t show up in terms of any commitments to deal with climate changes,” Biden said.
The Biden administration on Monday released its strategy for turning talk into reality in transforming the U.S. into an entirely clean energy nation by 2050. The long-term plan, filed in compliance with the Paris agreement, lays out a United States increasingly running on wind, solar and other clean energy, Americans zipping around in electric vehicles and on mass transit, state-of-the-art technology, and wide-open spaces carefully preserved to soak up carbon dioxide from the air.
The Biden administration has succeeded, over 10 months of diplomacy leading up to the Glasgow summit, in getting new promises from allies. That includes persuading many foreign governments to set more ambitious targets for emissions cuts, promoting a global pledge to cut emissions of a potent climate harm, methane, and the promise from leading economies to end funding for coal energy abroad.
Neither Russian President Vladimir Putin nor Chinese President Xi Jinping is attending the Glasgow summit, although they are sending senior officials. Their refusals, and India’s, to move substantially faster to cut their reliance on coal and petroleum makes it extremely unlikely to reach the targets set in the Paris climate accord.
China under Xi has firmed up commitments to cut emissions but at a slower pace than the U.S. has encouraged.
Traveling with Biden, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters traveling with the president that climate change should not be viewed as a rivalry between the U.S. and China, as China, the world’s second largest economy, could act on its own.
“They are a big country with a lot of resources and a lot of capabilities, and they are perfectly well capable of living up to their responsibilities,” Sullivan said. “Nothing about the nature of the relationship between the U.S. and China, structurally or otherwise, impedes or stands in the way of them doing their part.”
Biden comes to the international climate summit with the fate of his own climate package still uncertain in Congress. Objections from holdouts within Biden’s own Democratic Party have compelled him to back away from one bill that would have prodded the United States’ own move away from coal and natural gas and to cleaner energy for generating electricity.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.