Coal-state Democrat set to scupper Biden clean energy plans

President Joe Biden is likely to abandon a clean energy programme that was the centrepiece of his efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions at home, US media reported, because of opposition from a swing-vote Democratic senator from a state with a historically large coal industry. Funding to replace coal- and gas-fired plants with wind, solar and nuclear generation was part of a massive budget bill that Biden is struggling to get through Congress. The New York Times reported that White House staff members are now rewriting the legislation without the…

Major UN biodiversity summit delayed for third time due to pandemic

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A key United Nations biodiversity summit has been delayed for a third time due to the pandemic, the Chinese environment ministry has announced, as environmentalists pledged the delay would “not mean taking our foot off the pedal”. In a statement, the Chinese ministry of ecology and environment confirmed that Cop15, the biggest biodiversity summit in a decade, would be delayed, and that negotiations for this decade’s targets will be split into two phases so that governments can meet face-to-face in Kunming, China, in the first half of 2022. The talks…

America will never be back like before, but the world still needs democratic leadership | Timothy Garton Ash

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“America is back,” said President Joe Biden earlier this year, and the entire democratic world breathed a sigh of relief. But as we watch the debacle of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan – Kabul as Saigon 2 – a ghostly voice whispers to us: what if America is not back? What if it is never coming back? What happens then? The Chinese century? Europe as new leader of the free world? Or just plain old international anarchy? If only this were like Saigon in 1975. The US humiliation in…