Biden and World Leaders Focus on Innovation for ‘Clean Energy Future’
. The second day of the White House virtual summit to tackle the environmental crisis focused on how the United States and other nations could meet their targets and ramp up renewable energy development. President Biden announced on Friday that the United States would revive its participation in an initiative among dozens of nations and investors to increase government budgets for renewable energy research, development and deployment. The program, Mission Innovation, was spearheaded by former President Barack Obama and Bill Gates, in parallel with the Paris Agreement on climate change, in 2015. When President Donald J. Trump abandoned the climate accord and sought to roll back most funding for renewable energy in the United States, Mission Innovation faded from view. Mr. Biden, speaking on the second day of a virtual summit he convened to galvanize world leaders to do more to tackle climate change, said the challenges and opportunities of reducing planet-warming emissions would be met by working people in all countries. As we transition to a clean energy future, we must ensure workers who have thrived in yesterdays and todays industries have as bright a tomorrow in the new industries as well as in the places where they live, the president said. Mr. Gates, the philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder, on Friday also called for huge new public and private investment in innovation to meet Mr. Bidens goals and global targets for avoiding catastrophic climate change. Just using todays technologies wont allow us to meet our ambitious goals, Mr. Gates said via video. After Mr. Biden kicked off the by declaring that the United States would cut its global warming emissions at least in half by the end of the decade, Day 2 of the virtual gathering on Friday focused on how the United States and other nations could meet their targets and ramp up renewable energy development. Achieving the U.S. goals would take a substantial overhaul of current domestic policies, according to energy experts, who say that the country would need to virtually eliminate its use of coal for electricity and replace millions of gasoline-powered cars with electric vehicles. Jennifer Granholm, the energy secretary, called the U.S. plan to tackle climate change our generations moonshot. Speaking during a session on the development of renewable energy, she said the Biden administration was aiming to cut in half the price of solar and battery cell prices while reducing by 80 percent the cost of hydrogen energy, which would reduce dependency on natural gas, all by the end of the decade. We need a mind-set that overcomes resistance to change, Ms. Granholm said. Many are stuck on the status quo, and maybe they are insistent that we cant reach our goals. But Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, warned Friday that countries setting ambitious new goals for cutting planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions were still producing too much climate pollution. Right now, the data does not match the rhetoric, and the gap is getting wider, Mr. Birol said. The I.E.A. last week issued a report that forecast , mainly to meet soaring electricity demand. We are not recovering from Covid in a sustainable way, and we remain on a path of dangerous levels of global warming, Mr. Birol said. Yet there were some moves away from coal. On Friday, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, announced that his country would end the use of coal domestically. On Thursday, South Korea said that it would stop overseas finance for coal development, and China vowed to strictly limit coal as it aims to peak emissions by 2030. Other speakers on Friday included Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, whose agency also will be critical in pushing through efforts by the executive branch to get the nation closer to the presidents benchmarks. Mr. Buttigieg highlighted his agencys plans to bolster electric vehicles and create jobs as the transportation sector moves away from fossil fuels, though he did not mention plans to reinstate tough fuel-economy standards on passenger vehicles, the nations largest source of greenhouse pollution. Mr. Biden is pushing his cabinet to implement other climate change policies, including rules limiting fossil fuel extraction on public lands and new financial regulations intended to curb investment in heavily polluting industries. But even factoring in all those efforts, much of Mr. Bidens promise to halve the countrys emissions remains wrapped up in the infrastructure plan, which includes the money and the policies to draw down carbon pollution, but has not yet been translated into legislation, much less found support from a divided Congress. This is a moral imperative, an economic imperative, . A moment of peril, but also a moment of extraordinary possibilities. and President Biden will travel to the United Kingdom and NATOs headquarters in Belgium in June, the first overseas trip he has scheduled since taking office and an effort to underscore a return to normalcy with the countrys European allies. Mr. Biden will attend the Group of 7 Summit in Cornwall from June 11 to 13, where he will advance key U.S. policy priorities on public health, economic recovery, and climate change, and demonstrate solidarity and shared values among major democracies, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said in a statement on Friday. While there, he plans to meet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but there was no announcement regarding any events with the British royal family, which has been mourning the this month. On June 14, Mr. Biden will move on to a NATO meeting in Brussels, where he will hold bilateral meetings with leaders of countries in the alliance, Ms. Psaki said. The two-country trip also signals that Mr. Biden is more willing to loosen pandemic restrictions on his own activities. He has made several trips around the country to attend events masked and socially distanced and plans a trip next week to Georgia, where he is expected to sell his infrastructure plan and reiterate his opposition to the states new, more restrictive voting law. Mr. Trumps first overseas trip as president took place in May 2017, starting with stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel, followed by visits to Rome and Brussels, where he turned the annual meeting of the NATO alliance into a gripe session and made a point of that came under attack. Later, in 2018, Mr. Trump privately over the alliances unwillingness to increase military spending. Mr. Biden, by contrast, has expressed his intention to restore the alliance, confront aggression by Russia and reorient its mission to include a heightened focus on climate change. On Wednesday, NATO officials announced they would likely agree on a climate to reduce emissions by military units and conduct an alliance-wide assessment of the potential threats arising from climate disruptions. A report published by the Biden administration on Friday made the case that a failure to adopt clean energy technologies and reduce carbon emissions will contribute to rising economic costs, and warns that the United States has fallen behind in its efforts to develop strategies to combat the effects of climate change. The report, published by President Bidens Council of Economic Advisers, comes as his administration made a promise to cut emissions in half by the end of the decade. It compares the investments the United States made in technological innovations to the amount of money the government spent to send astronauts to the moon in the 1960s 0.6 percent of gross domestic product was dedicated to research in 2017, compared with 1.9 percent during the buildup to the moon landing in 1964. Absent such a strategy, workers could be hit by the dual negative effects of declining jobs in high-carbon industries alongside too few new domestic jobs in the emerging carbon-free industries of the future, the report said. The 37-page report also shows that the rate of global carbon emissions is expected to stay roughly the same through the next decade, conflicting with goals Mr. Bidens administration has made to lower them over the next 10 years and reach a net-zero level by 2050. The United States, the report said, has also fallen behind its biggest global competitors in efforts to develop technologies that could reduce the effects of climate change. Citing data from Bloomberg, the report lays out a few bleak comparisons: has dominated market share across clean technology sectors, from battery cell manufacturing to wind turbines. The effect, the report said, could mean growing dependence upon more intrepid countries. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has authorized U.S. diplomatic missions across the world to fly the rainbow pride flag on the same pole as the American flag at embassies and consulates, according to a State Department cable reviewed by The New York Times. The action reversed a decision by the Trump administration, which to raise it on their flag poles during the month of June, which in the United States and many other countries is Pride month. According to the cable and a State Department official, Mr. Blinken authorized diplomats to fly the before May 17, which is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and to continue their display at diplomatic outposts through the month of June. In the cable, Mr. Blinken noted that it was not a requirement and gave chiefs of mission the ability to determine that such a display is appropriate in light of local conditions. During his confirmation hearing in January, Mr. Blinken told lawmakers he would support the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning people, including allowing the pride flag at U.S. embassies, appointing an L.G.B.T.Q. envoy, and rejecting the findings of a Trump administration Commission on Unalienable Rights which human rights scholars saw as a threat to L.G.B.T.Q. and abortion rights. An envoy is yet to be named. During the Trump administration, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blocked U.S. embassies from flying the Pride flag on the same pole as the U.S. flag, saying the American flag should fly alone. Some embassies worked around the directive, including in South Korea, which displayed it on a building facade instead of the flagpole. Embassy officials in South Korea though, at the same time the Trump administration ordered it to remove a Black Lives Matter banner. The decision to display the flag is unlikely to be met with controversy in countries where L.G.B.T.Q. rights are not an issue. But in regions such as the Middle East and North Africa, where many countries outlaw same-sex relationships, displaying the flag could be contentious. In the cable, which was , State Department officials were told that when making decisions at their outposts to support L.G.B.T.Q. rights, they should ensure that the policy of do no harm is followed in order to prevent a backlash against the local L.G.B.T.Q. population. Former President Donald J. Trump is backing a group whose officials say will aim to combat the sprawling Democratic donor network Democracy Alliance, the latest attempt by Mr. Trump to put his imprint and involvement on Republican fund-raising efforts since he left the White House. The group, called the America Alliance, will ask donors to pay annual dues and commit to giving $100,000 to candidates and organizations that the umbrella group recommends, according to internal documents and people familiar with the plans. Mr. Trump has asked Michael Glassner, the former chief operating officer of the Trump re-election campaign in 2020, to be the chief executive officer. The new group will recommend sending contributions to entities created by or working with Trump allies and also to organizations associated with Mr. Trump, including a planned super PAC and his own multicandidate PAC. Internal documents for the group, viewed by The New York Times, contain a note that no employees will be compensated on a commission basis. Mr. Trump said in a statement to The Times that the group as well has his own candidate committees and the party committees was a way to gain traction against Democrats. For years Republicans have been at a fundraising disadvantage, but now thanks to Save America, Make America Great Again PAC, America Alliance, our fine party committees and all of our other supporting groups were going to beat the Democrats at their own game, Mr. Trump said. The group was originally conceived of by Caroline Wren, a professional fund-raiser who has worked for officials including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and who worked for the former presidents re-election campaign. When it was first pitched to donors weeks ago, some advisers to Mr. Trump said that he was displeased with its existence, because it competed with other groups he was endorsing, and that he hadnt signed off on it. Since then, hes warmed to the idea of a new group, which officials say will focus on grass-roots activity as well as donating to other organizations. Mr. Trump decided to install Mr. Glassner at the top of the structure, with Ms. Wren working for Mr. Glassner as a senior adviser, along with a string of other senior staff members and a board of a dozen advisers. Ms. Wren has told strategists she has met with more than 100 donors over the last five months and has repeatedly heard a desire for this kind of entity to more effectively direct money. The move by Mr. Trump comes as the Republican donor class is entering a midterms cycle and new presidential cycle, with the Republican National Committee, congressional committees and individual candidate committees all vying for donor support. Mr. Trumps Save America political action committee has close to $90 million stockpiled, primarily raised in the weeks after the Nov. 3 election, which he falsely claimed was stolen from him. The former president has repeatedly been the draw at fund-raisers at his private club, Mar-a-Lago, for candidates seeking his support. A Maricopa County judge on Friday temporarily halted a Republican-led effort in to from the 2020 presidential election, after Democrats filed a lawsuit arguing that the violated state election security laws. But the judge, Christopher Coury of Maricopa County Superior Court, said the pause would go into effect only if the state Democratic Party posted a $1 million bond to compensate a private company Cyber Ninjas, a cybersecurity firm based in Florida that Republicans have hired to review the ballots. In a on Friday afternoon, Democratic officials said they would not do so, but they vowed to continue the fight in court. Another hearing was set for Monday morning, and the judge emphasized that he expected the audit to move forward. Republican State Senate officials hired Cyber Ninjas to review nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in , the states largest county, though there is no substantiated evidence of significant fraud or errors. Election officials and local courts have found no merit in the allegations, and the Republican-controlled county board of supervisors has also objected to the recount. The lawsuit, brought by the state Democratic Party and Maricopa Countys only Democratic supervisor, argues that the State Senate is violating Arizona laws and regulations over the confidentiality and handling of election materials, and questions whether Senate officials can contract audit-related activities to private third-party vendors. Julia Shumway contributed reporting from Phoenix. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California announced a plan on Friday to ban hydraulic fracturing, or , by 2024 and to consider phasing out oil production statewide by 2045. The announcement, on the heels of Earth Day, came as a petition for Mr. Newsoms recall was expected to qualify for the ballot. In the past, the governor he lacked the executive authority to halt fracking, which has long been a source of both pollution and higher-paying, blue-collar jobs in California. Mr. Newsom campaigned on a promise to ban fracking, and in September asked Democrats in the Legislature to send a bill to his desk that would do so. But some Democrats criticized him later for failing to promote it sufficiently. Last week, a sweeping bill incorporating that ban and other fossil-fuel regulations was blocked by industry lobbyists and moderate Democrats seeking to protect paychecks in the oil-rich San Joaquin Valley. The climate crisis is real, and we continue to see the signs every day, the governor said in a statement on Friday. As we move to swiftly decarbonize our transportation sector and create a healthier future for our children, Ive made it clear I dont see a role for fracking in that future and, similarly, believe that California needs to move beyond oil. Politically, Mr. Newsoms ban and its gradual timeline were viewed as a way to appease the progressive voters he will need should the recall effort lead to a special election, as expected, while preventing the deep-pocketed oil industry from throwing its weight behind the recall. The proposed moves, which would ban new fracking permits starting in 2024 and require more rigorous review of current permit applications, will involve a lengthy rule-making process by regulatory agencies such as the California Air Resources Board and the state Department of Conservation. The announcement does not affect existing fracking operations, which are already considerably diminished and now account for about 17 percent of Californias oil and gas production. Nonetheless, Mr. Newsoms plan was slammed by labor groups representing refinery workers and by oil industry trade groups, who vowed to fight it. Banning nearly 20 percent of the energy production in our state will only hurt workers, families and communities in California and turns our energy independence over to foreign suppliers, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, chief executive of the Western States Petroleum Association, . Environmental groups, meanwhile, praised the announcement only faintly. Its historic and globally significant that Governor Newsom has committed California to phase out fossil-fuel production and ban fracking, but we dont have time for studies and delays, said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversitys Climate Law Institute. Caitlyn Jenner, the Republican former Olympian and prominent transgender activist, announced on Friday that she would challenge Gov. Gavin Newsom of California in this years recall election. Ms. Jenner, whose candidacy represents one of the most prominent bids for public office by an openly transgender person in the United States, she had filed initial paperwork to run. News of her campaign was earlier . A recall election is all but certain in California, where Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, has come . Republicans and backers of the recall effort have focused in particular on his leadership of the states economy. Officially, it is still uncertain if and when a recall vote will happen, but organizers have said for months that they have exceeded the 1.5 million signatures needed to trigger such an election. It would most likely be held this fall. In many ways, the effort is the work of Republicans struggling to maintain relevance in the overwhelmingly Democratic state. Ms. Jenner faces a steep uphill battle a recent poll from the in the state support a recall and more than half approved of Mr. Newsoms performance. For the past decade, we have seen the glimmer of the Golden State reduced by one-party rule that places politics over progress and special interests over people, Ms. Jenner wrote in her announcement. This will be a campaign of solutions, providing a road map back to prosperity to turn this state around and finally clean up the damage Newsom has done to this state. Celebrities running for office is nothing new in California, where voters elected Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the latter in a special recall election in 2003 that ousted Gov. Gray Davis. But Ms. Jenner is a political unknown in the state, where it is notoriously expensive to campaign for statewide office. No other Democrat has entered the race, and elected Democrats have repeatedly pledged to stick by Mr. Newsom, helping to shore up his support among Latino, Asian and Black voters in particular. The race would come at a time of steep challenges for California. In addition to the pandemic, the state is likely to face another drought for the second time in less than a decade. Ms. Jenner chose to run after meeting with several advisers who also worked for former President Donald J. Trump, which could complicate her chances in California. Democrats have repeatedly painted the recall effort as a plan supported largely by far-right extremists. Ms. Jenner supported Mr. Trump early on when he ran for president, but after his administration repeatedly attacked transgender rights. and The coronavirus pandemic has threatened to rapidly expand yawning gaps between the rich and the poor, throwing lower-earning service workers out of jobs, costing them income, and limiting their ability to build wealth. But by betting on big government spending, United States policymakers could limit that fallout. The $1.9 trillion economic aid package President Biden signed into law last month included monthly payments to parents, relief for renters and help with student loans. Now, the administration is rolling out more plans that would go even further, including a and about $1.5 trillion in spending and tax credits to , paid leave, universal prekindergarten and free community college. The measures are explicitly meant to help left-behind workers and people of color who have faced systemic racism and entrenched disadvantages and they would be . and Senate Republicans have offered a $568 billion counter to President Bidens $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, hoping to kick-start bipartisan negotiations, vastly scale back President Bidens plan and kill the corporate tax increases he is eyeing to pay for it. But while the White House welcomed the outline as a positive step, there was little sign that Mr. Biden or Democrats in Congress would embrace a package that many dismissed as insufficient for the economys needs and an unfair burden on middle-class taxpayers. Republicans are working to avoid the fate that befell them with Mr. Bidens first big economic initiative, a nearly that Democrats pushed through Congress over their vigorous objections, as polls showed it was wildly popular with the public. Eager to put their partys stamp on that plan, a group of moderate Republicans trekked to the White House to offer an alternative one-third the size of Mr. Bidens, and left optimistic that a bipartisan negotiation would follow. Instead, they found themselves quickly cast aside as Democrats used the fast-track budget reconciliation process to shield their own package from a filibuster and pass the plan solely with Democratic votes. Republicans said they hoped the two-page outline released on Thursday, which they said would provide for five years worth of funding for roads, bridges, airports, ports and broadband, would serve as a starting point for genuine negotiations with the White House and congressional Democrats. Several critical details, including specifics on how to pay for the plan, remained unclear. Most notably, Republicans did not give specifics about how much of the plan represented new spending. Just over half of the plan appears to be an expected reauthorization of current programs, while the $2.3 trillion outlined in the Biden plan is new funding intended to supplement those expected funds. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, said at a news conference on Thursday that Republicans were working with the White House to square the figures. At the White House, Jen Psaki, the press secretary, declined to weigh in on the skeletal blueprint. and President Biden addressed the Joint Chiefs of Staff and top U.S. regional military commanders on Friday as the United States faces rising threats from Russia, China and Iran, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and new national security risks such as pandemics and climate change. Mr. Biden spoke virtually at a private meeting arranged by Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, according to a White House spokesman. John F. Kirby, the Defense Department spokesman, told reporters on Friday that the discussions among top civilian Pentagon officials and military officers had included briefings on China, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the militarys role in helping combat the coronavirus and Pentagon efforts to counter sexual harassment. The semiannual senior leaders conference gives the civilian secretaries and uniformed chiefs of the military branches, as well as the far-flung regional commanders, an opportunity to meet usually in person and discuss with their bosses, now Mr. Biden and Mr. Austin, the most pressing battlefield, budgetary and breakout technology issues. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken also attended Fridays virtual conference, largely to discuss the administrations efforts to strengthen alliances and partnerships. Fridays session almost certainly included two other top policy priorities for Mr. Austin, the first Black secretary of defense: combating extremism in the military and embracing diversity in the 1.3 million active-duty force. Earlier this month, the Pentagon concluded a 60-day stand down to address extremism in the armed forces, and a working group was established to examine how to better vet recruits and educate service members who may be targeted by extremist organizations. The secretary looks forward to these discussions, as they provide valuable advice and assistance in developing the strategic direction of the department, the Pentagon said in a statement before the meeting. President Biden will seek new taxes on the rich, including a near doubling of the capital gains tax for people earning more than $1 million a year, to pay for the next phase in his $4 trillion plan to reshape the American economy. Mr. Biden will also propose raising the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6 percent from 37 percent, the level it was cut to by President Donald J. Trumps tax overhaul in 2017. The proposals are in line with Mr. Bidens campaign promises to raise taxes on the wealthy but not on households earning less than $400,000. The president will lay out the full proposal, which he calls the American Family Plan, next week. It will include about $1.5 trillion in new spending and tax credits meant to fight poverty, reduce child care costs for families, make prekindergarten and community college free to all, and establish a national paid leave program, according to people familiar with the proposal. It is not yet final and could change before next week. The plan will not include an up to $700 billion effort to expand health coverage or reduce government spending on prescription drugs. Officials have decided to instead pursue health care as a separate initiative, a move that sidesteps a fight among liberals on Capitol Hill but that risks upsetting some progressive groups. The plan will set up a clash with Republicans and test how far Democrats in Congress want to go to rebalance an economy that has disproportionately benefited high-income Americans. President Bidens has drawn sharp criticism that it could allow a takeover by the Taliban, with brutal consequences, particularly for the rights of women and girls. In response, top Biden administration officials have offered a case for why the outcome may not be so dire: The Taliban, they say, might govern less harshly than feared after taking partial or full power in order to win recognition and financial support from world powers. That argument is among the most significant defenses against those who warn that the Taliban will seize control of Kabul and impose a brutal, premodern version of Islamic law. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken made the case on Sunday on ABCs This Week, saying that the Taliban must gain power through an organized political process and not through force if it wants to be internationally recognized, if it doesnt want to be a pariah, he said. On Wednesday, announced that the administration would work with Congress to expedite a commitment of $300 million in humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan, pledged last fall under the Trump administration. As the United States begins withdrawing our troops, we will use our civilian and economic assistance to advance a just and durable peace for Afghanistan and a brighter future for the Afghan people, Mr. Blinken said in a statement. Some U.S. officials and prominent experts call this pariah theory valid, saying Taliban leaders have a record of seeking international credibility, placing a high priority on the removal of sanctions against them. To critics, however, such notions are tragically deluded, ignoring the Talibans fundamentalist ethos and are thin cover for abandoning the country to a cruel fate. Senator of South Carolina, , will deliver his partys formal rebuttal to to Congress next week. Mr. Scott was chosen for the task by his partys top congressional leaders, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, at a time when Republicans are seeking to expand their appeal to nonwhite groups that have traditionally voted Democratic. In a party still divided over the legacy of former President Donald J. Trump, Mr. Scott is also a rare figure able to unite competing factions. He is one of the most inspiring and unifying leaders in our nation, Mr. McConnell said in a statement announcing the decision on Thursday. As Senator Scott likes to say, he is living his mothers American dream, and he has dedicated his career to creating more opportunity for our fellow citizens who need it most. Nobody is better at communicating why far-left policies fail working Americans. Mr. Biden is expected to use much of his address, his first before Congress since being inaugurated, to build public support for his multi-trillion-dollar jobs and infrastructure plans. Republicans fiercely oppose the proposals as too expensive and too intrusive, and it will be up to Mr. Scott to make their case. In his own statement, Mr. Scott said he would deliver an optimistic vision for the country focused on economic growth and empowering working families. The task is a notoriously difficult one, with a nationally televised format that often results in stilted remarks or memorable gaffes. But it has also helped build national prominence for up-and-coming politicians in both parties, including Mr. Biden when he still served in the Senate decades ago. (Mr. Scott also had a prime speaking slot during the Republican National Convention last year.) The senator, 55, has a remarkable personal story. He was raised by a single mother in Charleston, S.C., and blazed a trail through state politics in a party where most of the other members are white. He first won a seat in the House amid the Tea Party wave of 2010 and was appointed to the Senate three years later. His work in Congress has focused primarily on economic development and tax issues. His plan to create to incentivize companies to invest in economically distressed areas became a centerpiece of Republicans $1.5 trillion tax-cut bill. Mr. Scott is arguably his partys leading voice on matters of race. When the nation erupted in protest last summer after the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer, it was Mr. Scott who stepped in to write a Republican proposal to push the nations police forces to weed out the use of excessive force and racial profiling in their ranks. Senate Democrats pushing for a more aggressive federal intervention killed the bill at the time. But as he prepares for his speech next Wednesday, Mr. Scott is among a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have recently revived talks over a policing bill and are hoping to steer Congress toward a compromise measure. Mr. Scott said on Wednesday that the two parties were , though major political and ideological hurdles remained.