Biden sets plan for clean energy growth at troubled US summit


LOS ANGELES: US President Joe Biden will pitch to US leaders for an environmentally sound economic partnership on Thursday (June 9) as he gears up for a first formal meeting with his Brazilian counterpart, a noted climate skeptic.

Biden will meet Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, a gathering designed to highlight the US’s renewed commitment to Latin America after years of relative neglect under the former Trump administration.

At the opening of the summit, Biden pledged to help economies grow “bottom-up, not top-down,” Biden said investment in renewable energy would be at the heart of it.

“The US partnership will tackle the climate crisis head-on in the same mindset we bring to work in the United States,” Biden told the rallying leaders. “When I hear climate, I hear jobs. High-quality, well-paying jobs will help accelerate our transition to a green economy of the future.”

Four development banks will collectively facilitate up to $50 billion over the next five years to support America’s climate goals, US officials said, while Biden would present clean energy plans at the summit. The officials added that the United States will also seek funding from the private sector and other sources to boost such projects.

Biden will host the regional summit with challenges at home and abroad ranging from soaring inflation, debate over gun control after more mass shootings and the war in Ukraine.

But instead of polishing regional unity, the summit has been tainted by diplomatic struggles fueled by Washington’s exclusion of US adversaries Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua because of their poor human rights and democracy records. .

That upset allies of the left-wing trio of countries, in particular Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who heeded a threat to stay away if not all nations were invited.

Other leaders said they would do the same, and did, thinning the line of visiting heads of state and government to 21.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard returned to the subject on Wednesday, saying it was a “serious mistake” to freeze countries, and that the decision had postponed the summit until 2012, the last time Cuba was not invited.

Biden appeared to be giving a nod to the controversy over the guest list at the beginning of his speech, ahead of two days of talk.

“Our region is large and diverse. We don’t always agree on everything,” he said. “But because we are democracies, we work on our differences with mutual respect and dialogue.”

The partial boycott has brought more attention to the first meeting between Biden and Bolsonaro, an admirer of former US President Donald Trump who this week once again cast doubt on Biden’s 2020 election victory.

Biden also previewed a summit statement on migration expected Friday, calling it “a breakthrough, integrated new approach” with shared responsibility across the hemisphere.

But he gave few details, other than that the initiative would “increase the opportunities for safe and orderly migration across the region and tackle criminals and human trafficking,” a major concern among officials in the region.

Parallel to the summit is a summit of business leaders aimed at strengthening regional economic ties and bringing supply chains back from Asia to counteract disruptions.

Biden on Thursday is the result of talks with presidents aimed at advancing energy security as Western powers seek to reduce their dependence on oil and gas from Russia.

US Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with leaders of government from the Caribbean to unveil initiatives to strengthen the region’s renewable energy capacity.