Biden campaigned on a promise to fight for policies to halt climate change. His envoy, John Kerry, has been on world tours touting American commitments to bring about cuts in carbon emissions.
But nine months into his presidency, political, legal, and economic obstacles have forced his administration to make several moves in support of fossil fuels development at home and abroad.
Setbacks include a federal judge overturning the administration's effort to block new oil and gas leasing on federal lands, forcing it to offer millions of new acres for drilling, and rising retail gas prices that have led the White House to publicly ask the global oil cartel, OPEC, to boost production. The Biden administration has backed lesser-known oil and gas infrastructure projects like Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline from Canada and sped up processing of oil and gas drilling permits. Government data show the administration has approved more than 2,600 drilling permits on onshore leases, a faster pace than during the Trump administration.
Political opposition has forced the administration to put its centerpiece climate proposals that would help deliver an April pledge to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 into a budget reconciliation bill that has an uncertain future in the closely-divided U.S. Congress. Democrats, who hope to pass the bill by the end of September, are already talking about paring back investments and targets.
If Biden fails to deliver ahead of COP26, many other nations will be reluctant to commit to reducing their own emissions.