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Biden says it was a "big mistake" for China to opt out of climate conference

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Biden unveils plan to combat climate crisis
Biden unveils plan to combat climate crisis 03:43

President Biden told reporters Tuesday that it was a "big mistake" for China not to have shown up for the United Nations climate summit, attended by over 100 world leaders, but not Chinese President Xi Jinping or Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We showed up. And by showing up, we've had a profound impact on the way I think the rest of the world is looking at the United States and its leadership role," the president said. 

Mr. Biden took a few questions from reporters as he wrapped up his European swing in a news conference, just before departing the United Nations climate summit.

Reporters asked the president about 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 had 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. 

Biden holds news conference at climate summit... 34:53

He told reporters "I believe that Joe will be there" for the bill, even though just a day ago, Manchin said he needed more time to consider the budgetary impact of the measure. He accused progressives of putting "shell games (and) budget gimmicks" into the measure that could double the price tag. Manchin 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. 

The president said, "I understand Joe is looking for the precise detail," and added that he believes the bill will be passed. 

He also predicted the two Democrats running for governor in New Jersey and in Virginia would win their races, though he admitted the race in Virginia is a tight one and would probably come down to turnout.

Mr. Biden brought the message to world leaders at the Group of 20 summit and the U.N. climate conference that the U.S. is "back at the table," after his predecessor former President Trump had walked away. At the climate conference in Glasgow, Mr. Biden announced he would ask 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.


Biden predicts Democrats will win in Virginia and New Jersey

The president weighed in on Tuesday night's highly anticipated governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey, though he admitted the contest in Virginia between Democratic former Governor Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin is close.

"We're gonna win. I think we're gonna win in Virginia," the Mr. Biden said, although he added that it would depend on "turnout." 

The president thinks he'll probably land in Washington around the time the election results are known in Virginia, though a tight race could mean the results won't be known until very late Tuesday night.

The president said he believes Democrats will win the gubernatorial race in New Jersey, too. Still, he said he doesn't see the races as a referendum on his performance as president. 

Polls had McAuliffe and Youngkin virtually tied heading into Election Day, in a state Mr. Biden won by 10 points just a year ago. Polls in Virginia close at 7 p.m. 

By Kathryn Watson

Biden says U.S. should still lead on climate — even though China and Russia won't

What would the president say to Americans who want to know why the U.S. is making commitments to address climate change when China, Russia and India aren't also making the same commitments, CBS News chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes asked Mr. Biden.

"Because we want to be able to breathe — and we want to be able to lead the world," Mr. Biden responded. 

The president again pointed to China's absence at the climate summit. 

"The fact that China, trying to assert understandably a new role in the world as a world leader, not showing up? Come on," he added. 

The president said he feels "confident" the U.S. will be able to deliver on climate and grow the economy at the same time. 

The president said the "vast majority" of other world leaders believe there is an "opportunity" to improve climate change — and in a way that boosts the economy. 

By Kathryn Watson

Biden says he believes Manchin will "be there" on reconciliation bill

Asked whether he has any type of commitment from Democratic Senator Joe Manchin on supporting the newly revamped $1.75 trillion social spending framework, the president said Manchin "will vote for this if we have in this proposal what he has anticipated, and that is looking at the fine print of the detail."  

"I believe that Joe will be there," Mr. Biden said. 

On Monday, Manchin made a statement to reporters expressing serious concern over the $1.75 trillion proposal, calling it a "shell game." Manchin insisted he needs to know how much the proposal will add to the national debt, and how it might affect inflation. 

"I understand Joe is looking for the precise detail," Mr. Biden said, adding, "I think we'll get this done."

Democrats were going to perhaps vote on both the infrastructure and social spending or reconciliation bills this week, but it's unclear whether that will happen. 

By Kathryn Watson

Biden says it's a "big mistake" China didn't show up for climate summit

In the first question, President Biden was asked to describe the U.S. relationship with China, which did not show up for the climate summit. He called it a "big mistake." 

"We showed up. We showed up. And by showing up, we've had a profound impact on the way I think the rest of the world is looking at the United States and its leadership role," the president said. 

China is the world's leading greenhouse gas emitter, responsible for 30% of all carbon emissions. Behind them is the U.S., responsible for 15%. 

— Kathryn Watson, Cara Korte

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