While listening to the opening speeches of Monday's United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), President Biden seemed to fall asleep in the company of foreign leaders.
Biden, who was 78 years old when he was elected, is the oldest U.S. President in American history. Some critics, including elected Republicans, raised concerns about Biden's frequent rhetorical mistakes and refusal to talk with the media except for pre-approved reporters. Biden can be seen in a video closing his eyes as one of the invited speakers addresses the crowd. Then, he opens his eyes to allow an aide to approach and begin speaking.
Biden appears to fall asleep during COP26 opening speeches pic.twitter.com/az8NZTWanI Zach Purser Brown (@zachjourno) November 1, 2021
Biden seemed to be falling asleep just before he took the stage to give opening remarks. He then apologized to President Trump for his decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords.
This week, delegations from many developed countries will meet in Glasgow, Scotland to discuss their plans and to renew their pledges to cut global carbon emissions. The Biden administration made climate change a top priority during its first term.
Biden claimed that September's hurricane cycle is a clear sign of a global climate crisis, and that it was code red for the entire world. Gina McCarthy, White House national climate advisor, warned that climate change has become a major health crisis. She claimed that it has disproportionately affected poor and minority communities.
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However, some scientists disagree with the apocalyptic predictions about the environment. These include rapidly accelerating sea level rise, more extreme weather and deadlier forest fires. They also reject the notion that the planet is in a climate emergency.
Biden, a former president Trump's representative in the United States, renewed American participation in the Paris Agreement as one of his first acts after taking the U.S. out of the agreement. The COP26, which was hosted by the UK and Italy, is expected to lead to increased climate mitigation commitments by pivotal countries. According to the COP26's website, while the Paris summit aimed at limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial levels, it calls the previous goal not ambitious enough.
The Democratic-spearheaded reconciliation package pending in Congress was originally pitched as a social spending bill with provisions addressing climate change, as well as childcare, education, and healthcare. The Biden administration announced last week a revised framework for reconciliation, which was cut to $1.75 trillion from $3.5 trillion. This still includes investments in clean energy infrastructure.
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