Rabe on Biden's climate challenges

November 5, 2021

With the international community getting behind climate goals at the COP26 summit this week in Glasgow, Barry Rabe weighed in on what that means in the U.S. context.

Appearing on The Heat with Anand Naidoo on CGTN America, Rabe expressed doubts on climate targets and how nations can come together. “1.5 is again a tremendous goal but it seems more aspirational than something we’re going to be able to realistically achieve.” He further explained, "Money appears to be hard to come by, particularly if it crosses national boundaries. We are seeing a growing willingness in many nations to spend more—more than ever before....the reluctance to spend money goes up when it is transferred somewhere else. That is going to be a huge challenge for the United States....This is also an area where we are seeing private sector institutions, nonprofit organizations perhaps even eclipsing some of the traditional roles of government where the political pressure is so focused on localized spending."

Rabe weighed in on the task ahead for President Biden, particularly trust that his promises cannot be undone by successors. “It’s one of the biggest challenges facing Mr. Biden,” he told Irish public service media RTE.

"I am not sure how he resolves this. He has to say to the world that not only is he committed but that they can count on things he is proposing actually being delivered. In three years, Joe Biden will be 82 years old, will he seek re-election? Will a Republican candidate or even Donald Trump be returning to the Oval Office in a few years and then undo the handiwork of their predecessor?"

He went on to stress the importance of Biden getting his American Rescue Plan passed, saying "The legislative package is crucial because it is much harder for a future president from another party to simply reverse it through executive action; it would take another act of Congress. A legislative piece is likely to be far more durable." 

Rabe also commented on President Biden’s move to limit methane in The New York Times. “As a president tries to use unilateral executive powers, there are immediately a set of hurdles. It’s not going to be an easy transition.”

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