President Joe Biden, speaking Friday at an annual international summit on climate change, urged world leaders to "double down" on their resolve to fight global warming, saying Russia's invasion of Ukraine reinforces the need to phase out fossil fuels. "We can no longer plead ignorance to the consequences of our actions, or continue to repeat our mistakes," Biden said, per the AP. The president's brief attendance at the United Nations climate conference, known as COP27, was largely a victory lap as he emphasized new spending on clean energy initiatives that will "change the paradigm" for the United States and the rest of the world.
At the summit, Biden discussed a new supplemental rule that will crack down on methane emissions, expanding on a similar regulation his administration released last year. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes significantly to global warming. Biden also spotlighted one of his key domestic successes—the Democrats' massive health care and climate change bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act. The US commitment of some $375 billion over a decade to fight climate change gives Biden greater leverage to press other nations to fulfill their pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and shift the global economy toward cleaner energy sources.
"The United States government is putting our money where our mouth is," he said, adding, "This gathering must be the moment to recommit our future and our shared capacity to write a better story for the world." Biden spent just three hours in Egypt, including a meeting with the country's autocratic leader, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, before continuing on an around-the-world trip. The leaders discussed climate, human rights, and the US-Egypt defense partnership, among other issues, the White House said.
Biden and other senior officials had also planned to advocate for the release of imprisoned Egyptian pro-democracy activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah. Afterward, as he walked through a hallway with el-Sissi, Biden was asked whether they'd discussed Abdel-Fattah. Biden responded, "What we talked about is the relationship between the United States and Egypt." His next stop was set to be Cambodia for a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders, and then Indonesia for the annual G20 summit of the world's largest economies. (Read more climate change stories.)