LIVE – Updated at 15:57
Joe Biden’s first trip abroad is set for June in the form of a trip to the UK and Belgium, first for the G7 summit and then a US-EU summit in Brussels.
The Microsoft co-founder’s comments came on the second and final day of Mr Biden’s virtual climate summit, as the president and members of his administration repeatedly emphasised that they would ensure the transition to clean energy provides jobs for all workers – in particular those without degrees and those at the deprived end of the current job market.
Meanwhile, a new Harvard Institute of Politics poll suggests that approval of Mr Biden among young Americans has soared in his first 100 days in office, nearly doubling from the same period last year to 59 per cent.
Perhaps chiming with Mr Gates’ sentiments, the young voters surveyed were also found to be vastly more hopeful about their country’s future than they were four years ago – with that number now sitting at 56 per cent, having been as low as 31 per cent in autumn 2017.
- Biden pledges to bring all workers along with green transition
- Bill Gates thanks Biden for ‘re-establishing America’s leading role’
- Vast increase in young Americans’ hopefulness for the country’s future, poll suggests
- What happened at the climate summit yesterday?
- Trump accuses LeBron James of ‘racist rants’
Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of US politics, as Joe Biden’s climate summit enters its second day.
US stages climate comeback after Trump but fails to elicit specific targets from largest polluters
09:17 , Andy Gregory
Joe Biden will be hoping to build on yesterday’s momentum as he seeks to drive America’s comeback on the world stage and make his case for a green transformation of the US economy.
Our senior climate correspondent Louise Boyle has this report on what happened as world leaders convened virtually for the first day of Mr Biden’s summit.
Trump accuses LeBron James of ‘racist rants’
09:24 , Andy Gregory
Here’s the truly bizarre statement from Donald Trump attempting to label LeBron James’ past comments as “racist”.
“LeBron James should focus on basketball rather than presiding over the destruction of the NBA, which has just recorded the lowest television RATINGS, by far, in the long and distinguished history of the League,” the statement released by Mr Trump’s office said.
“His RACIST rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning. He may be a great basketball player, but he is doing nothing to bring our Country together!”
The former president’s attack follows much Republican criticism of the NBA star’s now-deleted tweet this week.
LeBron James says tweet was ‘being used to create more hate’
09:37 , Andy Gregory
Here’s LeBron James’s response to the backlash to his now-deleted tweet telling the police officer who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant: “You’re next”.
James wrote on Wednesday: “I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail! 🙏🏾✊🏾🤎👑
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
My colleague Akshita Jain has the details in this report:
LeBron James would be ‘relegated to the outskirts of society’ if his surname were Trump, Kayleigh McEnany claims
10:06 , Andy Gregory
Donald Trump’s former press secretary is among Republicans criticising LeBron James for his comments about the police shooting in Ohio.
On her Fox News show, Kayleigh McEnany said this week: “Let’s say his name was LeBron Trump, and he was a right-wing activist,” she continued. “He would be banned from Twitter and he would lose his job, likely. He’d lose all his sponsorships and he would be relegated to the outskirts of society.”
Kayleigh McEnany: “Let’s say his name was LeBron Trump and he was a right-wing activist. He would be banned from Twitter and he would lose his job, likely. He’d lose all his sponsorships and he would be relegated to the outskirts of society.” pic.twitter.com/ysgEnrzTpd
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) April 22, 2021
Ms McEnany accused the NBA star of “putting a target on” the police officer identified as firing the shots which killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant – with his now-deleted tweet, posted hours after the Derek Chauvin verdict, having claimed: “You’re next.”
During her tenure as Mr Trump’s press secretary, Ms McEnany defended the then-president on more than one occasion in which he faced accusations of inciting violence, including in response to the fatal 6 January storming of the Capitol and during last year’s protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
Bill Gates and Mike Bloomberg to help sell Biden’s hopes for climate-friendly transition
10:29 , Andy Gregory
Bill Gates and Mike Bloomberg will be among a range of billionaires, chief executives and union bosses brought out on the second and final day of Joe Biden’s climate summit as he seeks to sell Democrats’ vision for a green transformation of the US economy.
Transport secretary Pete Buttigieg, US trade representative Katherine Tai, and Mr Biden’s climate advisers are also lined up to lead a panel discussing “the economic benefits of green recovery and long-term decarbonisation”.
Mr Biden had argued on Thursday that the climate crisis “presents one of the largest job creation opportunities in history”.
The Republican Party, however, remain closely aligned to the arguments pushed by Donald Trump in his now-reversed withdrawal from the Paris Agreement – with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claiming on Thursday that Democrats’ plans to transition to clean energy were costly, ineffective, and would simply mean “putting good-paying American jobs into the shredder”.
AMA: Put your climate questions to The Independent’s correspondent
10:42 , Andy Gregory
Our senior climate correspondent Louise Boyle will shortly be hosting an “Ask Me Anything” session to coincide with Earth Day and Joe Biden’s virtual summit, which has seen a host of new pledges and announcements.
You can submit your questions now, and follow along from 1pm as Louise responds here:
Markets react to reports of Biden tax hike plans
11:22 , Andy Gregory
Joe Biden’s focus may be on climate today, but reports suggesting he is planning to unveil tax hikes for America’s wealthiest residents have sent waves across financial markets the world over.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the president will next week lay out plans to more than double the capital gains tax paid by those earning more than $1m per year to nearly 40 per cent as part of a range of changes aimed at creating more funding for education and childcare.
Wall Street’s S&P Index lost 0.9 per cent overnight, while stock markets in Asia had a varying reaction to the news. The crypto market is also reported to have felt some impact, with Bitcoin crashing 10 per cent on Friday morning and Ethereum falling 11 per cent from record highs of the day before.
Swipe alt-right: Capitol riot suspect arrested after bragging about it on dating app Bumble
11:28 , Andy Gregory
A New York man has been arrested for allegedly taking part in the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January, after bragging about his involvement on the dating app Bumble.
Robert Chapman, from Carmel in New York State, was arrested by the FBI on Thursday in connection to the riot, with the bureau claiming in his charging documents that he had sent a message allegedly boasting that he “made it all the way into Statuary Hall”.
James Crump has this report:
11:53 , Andy Gregory
We’ll be covering the events of today’s climate summit as they happen.
You can watch along here, and at the top of this article.
US can tap into $38bn of existing funds to help communities hit by demise of coal, new report suggests
12:04 , Andy Gregory
A new report from a White House-appointed group published today suggests that the US government can tap into $38bn from existing federal funds to revitalise communities hard-hit by the closure of coal mines and coal-fired power plants.
“The coal and power plant workers who built our nation can play a huge role in making America’s clean energy future a reality, and this report outlines just the first steps the Biden Administration is taking to make sure they have those opportunities – right in their communities,” said US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm, a member of the working group.
Reuters reports that the US Energy Department has also announced $109.5m in new funds to jumpstart “next-generation industries” such as carbon capture projects on existing industrial and power plants, and critical mineral extraction from waste streams that will create jobs directly in affected communities.
Cop26 ‘critical’ in keeping warming below 1.5C, John Kerry says
12:15 , Andy Gregory
US special envoy for climate John Kerry is kicking off proceedings at the climate summit today.
Talking of discussions had “on the margins” of yesterday’s summit, he said: “Many countries emphasised the critical role of Cop26 in Glasgow in keeping 1.5C as the limit of the warming that we face.
“And because we know that we are already at 1.2C, we have a very small margin to play with.”
Mr Kerry said that “words are not enough”, and that finishing a “rulebook” at Glasgow is not enough – “that what is critical is the actions, the outcomes, particularly of the largest emitters in the world”.
He added that delegates from many countries “echoed President Biden’s themes – that action on climate is an opportunity for job creation, and it is important to leave behind communities that are dependent on fossil fuels”.
‘Cities and businesses hold the key to defeating climate change,’ Mike Bloomberg says
12:20 , Andy Gregory
“We can’t wait for Cop26 to take action,” 2020 presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg has told the summit.
“We have a chance right here today to demonstrate what strong leadership looks like. Yes, it’s about setting ambitious goals, but it’s also about bringing everyone from every part of the world together and working as a team to meet them. Not just in government, but in the private sector too.”
He added: “If you look at the data, cities and businesses hold the key to defeating climate change. They are responsible for the vast majority of emissions. So helping them and incentivising them to take action really is critical.”
12:24 , Andy Gregory
Brenda Mallory, chair of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, has said that Joe Biden’s approach to climate is guided by a few core beliefs:
- “That every single person has a fundamental right to drink clean water and breathe clean air”
- “That for too many people we have failed to deliver those protections”, in the US and elsewhere.
“Correcting these historic wrongs is not going to be easy, and requires a long-term commitment. But acknowledging the need for change is a critical first step,” Ms Mallory said.
US energy secretary describes push for climate as ‘our generation’s moonshot’
12:35 , Andy Gregory
US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm has said that her department will be announcing “new goals for bold, achievable leaps in next-generation technologies, starting with hydrogen, carbon-capture, industrial fuels and energy storage”.
“We will marshal our 17 national laboratories, our universities, and our private sector to unlock major breakthroughs,” Ms Granholm said.
“We’ve already announced a goal of cutting the price of solar in half yet again by 2030. And next, we’ll start lowering the cost of clean renewable hydrogen by 80 per cent before 2030, making it competitive with natural gas.
“We’re going to slash battery cell prices in half again, and reduce the need for critical materials, making electric vehicles affordable and maybe even cheaper than gasoline vehicles. And we’re going to dramatically reduce the cost of atmospheric carbon capture while ramping up incentives for large-scale efforts across the world as well.
“This is our generation’s moonshot.”
12:38 , Andy Gregory
“For too long this climate conversation has been viewed as a zero-sum game, one of trade-offs – the climate or the economy. No longer,” said US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm.
“Going big on our ambitions means that we’re going to create jobs for millions of people – construction workers, project managers, engineers, technicians, [and] so much more.
“That means we can all do right by our people as we do right by the planet. We can lift up communities that have been knocked down, we can make good on moral debts owed to those bearing the burdens of fossil fuel pollution. This is an exciting moment.”
Vast increase in young Americans hopefulness for the country’s future, poll suggests
12:44 , Andy Gregory
As Joe Biden approaches his 100th day in office, a new Harvard Institute of Politics poll suggests that young Americans are vastly more hopeful about their country’s future than they were four years ago, with the largest changes seen among people of colour.
Some 56 per cent of people polled now say they are hopeful about America’s future – compared with just 31 per cent in autumn 2017.
Four years ago, just 18 per cent of Black Americans surveyed said they were hopeful about America. That figure now sits at 72 per cent, according to the Harvard Public Opinion Project poll.
Bill Gates thanks Biden for ‘re-establishing America’s leading role on climate’
12:50 , Andy Gregory
Bill Gates has thanked Joe Biden “for re-establishing America’s leading role on climate change”.
“This is a promising moment,” the Microsoft co-founder said. “Climate activists and young people especially are bringing amazing energy and attention to this issue. They are demanding action and rightly so.
He claimed that “governments around the world are meeting those demands with ambitious commitments”, in Paris six years ago and in Glasgow later this year.
But existing technology won’t “allow us to meet our ambitious goals”, he said, citing the current costs of zero-carbon technologies and calling for investment in innovation and development of the necessary infrastructure.
Kenyan president calls for greater financial support for developing countries
13:11 , Andy Gregory
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta has warned that “most developing countries are struggling to finance” efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Citing a recent UN adaptation gap report, Mr Kenyatta said the current annual adaptation costs in developing countries are estimated to reach some $70bn, and are expected to rise to between $140bn and $300bn by 2030 unless action is taken.
“We therefore need to increase our ambition at two levels,” he said.
“First all countries should take the bold measures to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 years.
“And second, the better-off countries, working in collaboration with our private sectors should support developing countries secure the financial resources required to implement climate adaptation programmes,
He concluded: “Let us all act in concert to protect our shared destiny and let us – in the spirit that the United States has shown in the rejoining the Paris Agreement – all aim to bequeath our children a better future.”
John Kerry: Small countries show up the big emitters’ failure to take action
13:36 , Andrew Naughtie
Speaking before Joe Biden returns for another session, John Kerry pointed out that the smaller countries whose representatives have spoken at the summit so far are achieving “unbelievable things” in their transitions away from fossil fuels – but that the major countries responsible for 80 per cent of emissions “are failing as a community of nations”.
“It’s not a lack of capacity,” he said, “it’s a lack of willpower.”
Joe Biden pledges to protect workers in fossil fuel jobs
13:50 , Andrew Naughtie
Promising to build a green economy that “gives everyone in our country a fair shot” and “build millions of jobs around the world in innovative sectors”, Joe Biden made clear that the jobs he’s talking about will “bring greater quality of life, greater dignity, to the people who are performing those jobs in every nation”.
Listing the endless potential job functions in new green supply chains and a reconfigured manufacturing base, as well as in “things we haven’t even thought of so far”, he hammered home that “we must ensure that workers who have thrived in yesterday’s and today’s industries have as bright a future tomorrow in the new industries, as well as in the places where they live, the communities they have built.
“When we invest in climate resilience and infrastructure, we create opportunities for everyone.”
Pete Buttigieg: most green jobs will go to workers without degrees
14:19 , Andrew Naughtie
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tells the climate summit the green transition will create new and better jobs as well as growth.
Touting the American Jobs Plan, which the Biden administration is currently pushing through Congress, he promised that the majority of new green jobs in transportation will go to workers without college degrees and those from underserved and deprived communities.
“This is not a zero-sum game,” he said. “We all benefit if we succeed.”
Biden: “I want to drive one of your electric schoolbuses”
14:52 , Andrew Naughtie
Biden tells electric vehicle manufacturer that he can’t wait to drive one of the company’s schoolbuses. “I got a licence,” he says.
Fleets of zero-emissions buses are being rolled out in pockets across the US, in particular in school districts.
Biden on Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act: “These acts are wrong. They are un-American. And they must stop”
15:05 , Andrew Naughtie
The White House has put out a statement from President Biden on the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, which has passed the Senate by a vote of 94-1. It is designed to combat a wave of crimes against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic, a problem that has been attributed to the anti-Chinese sentiment stirred up by Donald Trump and allies who referred to the pathogen as the “China virus” and “kung flu”.
“Too often throughout our history,” reads Mr Biden’s statement, “acts of hate and violence directed at Asian Americans have been met with silence. Our nation must stand together to speak out against hate, and declare unequivocally: These acts are wrong. They are un-American. And they must stop.”
The only senator to vote against the bill was Josh Hawley, the Missouri Republican who together with Ted Cruz stood alone in objecting to the 2020 election result after the Capitol insurrection on 6 January.
Biden’s first foreign trip set for UK and EU
15:21 , Andrew Naughtie
The details of Mr Biden’s first foreign visit as president are emerging, with the White House announcing that he will attend the G7 summit in the UK from 11-13 June before heading off to Brussels.
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) April 23, 2021
Biden administration turns against another anti-trans Trump legacy
15:45 , Andrew Naughtie
As the culture war over gender identity launched by the right continues, the Biden administration has thrown out a Trump-era proposal that would have allowed homeless shelters to discriminate against trans people.
Marcia Fudge, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said that since “transgender and gender non-conforming people report more instances of housing instability and homelessness than cisgender people,” her department was “taking a critical step in affirming HUD’s commitment that no person be denied access to housing or other critical services because of their gender identity”.
Zoe Tidman has more: