Mr Blinken said the United States was “leading by example” by investing heavily in clean energy. And he added some warnings to the nations he needs as climate partners. He did not name Brazil, but warned that the destruction of the rainforest would not be tolerated. In an overt message to China, he said climate cooperation is not a “chip” that countries can use to avoid screening for “bad behavior” on human rights and other issues.
“Climate is not a trading card, it is from the future,” said Blinken.
Many diplomats this time said they were clearer about the United States’ ability to advocate climate change. Even so, they tended to give the Biden government the benefit of the doubt.
“I think US policy on climate change is viewed like a pendulum,” Malik Amin Aslam, advisor to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Climate Change, said in an interview. The countries at risk are just “glad that the Biden government has steered the pendulum in the right direction,” he added.
Rondald J. Jumeau, former Seychelles Ambassador to the United Nations and longtime negotiator on climate change, said he was looking at the announcements of the Biden administration with “qualified excitement” and hoped the United States could not only push through emissions cuts, but also the funding of small island states and other vulnerable countries.
In addition to withdrawing climate regulations, Trump stopped paying the Green Climate Fund to help poorer countries transition to clean energy and adapt to the effects of climate change. Mr Biden has vowed to restore funding, starting at $ 1.2 billion this year, pending congressional approval.
“I think we all know the American political system by now,” said Jumeau. “If we haven’t learned anything in the Trump years, we’ll never know how dysfunctional it is.”
Adam S. Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said America’s volatility on the world stage began long before Mr. Trump. From climate change to international development to trade laws, the allies have learned to deal with the changing priorities of the Republicans and the democratic administration, as Congress is still largely unable to translate important guidelines into law.