Biden speaks at news conference as he leaves climate summit

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President Biden is taking questions from reporters Tuesday evening as he wraps up his European swing in a news conference, just before he departs the United Nations climate summit. 

Mr. Biden, who brought the message to world leaders that the U.S. is “back at the table,” is likely to be asked whether the commitments made at the conference by the world — and the U.S. — will be enough to bend the trajectory of Earth’s warming down to levels that will preserve the planet. Mr. Biden announced Tuesday that he’ll urge Congress for $9 billion for the conservation of the world’s forest and ecosystems.

His administration also proposed a rule Tuesday that would cut U.S. methane emissions by cracking down on methane emissions from all of the nation’s oil and gas wells. Existing regulations apply only to newer oil and gas wells, built or modified since 2015. The Associated Press notes that this means over 90% of the 900,000 wells in the U.S. are not regulated. The Environmental Defense Fund says that reducing methane emissions is the quickest route to slowing the warming of the planet because its warming power is 80 times that of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years it’s in the atmosphere.

Reporters are also likely to ask Mr. Biden about what awaits him at home: uncertainty about the fate of the Build Back Better social spending plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. As he left for Europe last week, the president touted a new $1.75 trillion social spending bill that contains $555 billion in climate-related provisions and expressed confidence Democrats would come together to pass it. But he’s at the mercy of an evenly divided Congress, and a few Democrats, Senator Joe Manchin, in particular, have trimmed some of the climate-focused measures from the legislation. 

On Monday, Manchin said he needed more time to consider the budgetary impact of the measure, which he said contains “shell games (and) budget gimmicks” that could double the price tag. He doesn’t like the approach Democrats took to shorten the duration of some programs, rather than choosing provisions to keep or remove. “This is a recipe for economic crisis,” he said. He and the rest of the Senate are waiting to see the Congressional Budget Office score or analysis of the cost of the bill before acting on it. 

— Nancy Cordes contributed to this report.

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