Written by J, O, S, H, e, D, e, r, m, a, n, a, r, m, a, N, B, L, E, B, L, D, B, C, L, C, A, L, T, S, K, R, B, V, T, N, R, G, H
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s credibility on climate change is in doubt. Credit: Getty Images
New York, November 20, 2012 — Former Vice President Joe Biden leads the highest-level U.S. delegation ever to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP-18, in Durban, South Africa, where the United States signed a plan to decarbonize the global economy by 2050. The agreement is called the Copenhagen Accord and will require the world’s top economies to agree on a total reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 25% to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.
Back in Durban, Biden was also signed onto the first legally binding global climate change agreement to be put into practice, the Kyoto Protocol.
Biden has long acknowledged the urgent need to reach a solution. He has frequently stressed that American foreign policy must be geared toward mitigating climate change, and pushing forward the climate change agenda. He has called for climate change action, including the U.S. withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, on multiple occasions.
In his second term as vice president, however, his leadership on the issue was questioned.
Following the 2012 election, in which the Republicans increased their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and took control of the Senate for the first time in 40 years, Biden, on a trip to New York, released an Op-Ed in the Washington Post that was described as a “full throated” rebuke of the Republican-controlled congress.
Biden went on to accuse the Republicans of a “lack of courage” in fighting climate change, and pushing for a “sensible” plan to mitigate the problem.
In 2016, Biden apologized for the remarks in the wake of a campaign by President Donald Trump, Republican presidential nominee and now U.S. President, who denied climate change for months during the 2016 presidential election.
Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul joined calls for the Secretary of State to resign, and Republican members of Congress tweeted that Biden should be prosecuted and placed in jail for his false statements about climate change.
It was an unprecedented rebuke of Biden, who was touted as a possible presidential candidate in 2020 by former President Barack Obama’s senior advisors.
Late in 2016, Biden also defended Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren, after several Republicans denied the existence of climate change, including one representative who claimed in September 2016 that some scientists and politicians “who do not believe in climate change are not dealing with reality.”
At a January press conference in the Senate, a Republican questioned the “scientific basis” of climate change, but the Republican Committee on Science, Space and Technology chairman offered few answers.