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World leaders joined President Joe Biden at the virtual climate summit Friday to share their stories how nations can break free of climate-damaging fossil fuels — from Kenyans leapfrogging from kerosene lamps to geothermal power and Israeli start-ups scrambling to improve battery storage.

“We cannot win this fight against climate change unless we go globally to fight it together,” declared President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta of Kenya.

He spoke as the White House devoted the second and final day of Biden’s 40-leader summit to arguing for massive investment now to switch the United States and the rest of the world to cleaner and more prosperous economies for the long term.

Compared with the United States and other wealthy but carbon-dependent nations, Kenya stands out as a poorer nation closing the technology gap despite limited financial resources. It has moved within decades from dirty-burning coal, kerosene and wood fires to become a leading user and producer of geothermal energy, wind and solar power.

Biden has used the virtual summit — plagued by intermittent electronic echoes and other glitches — to showcase the U.S. return to international climate efforts after President Donald Trump’s resolute withdrawal from the mission.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the summit into its virtual format, with Cabinet secretaries stepping in as emcees to keep the livestreamed action moving.

Biden also used the summit to make the case for his $2.3 trillion proposal to scrap crumbling U.S. infrastructure and rebuild with efficient, climate-friendly transport systems, electric grids and buildings.

“This is a moment for all of us to build better economies for our children, our grandchildren,” Biden said Friday, standing at a lectern in the White House and facing a Zoom-style screen of listening leaders from around the world.

“We must ensure that workers who thrived in yesterday’s and today’s industries have as bright a tomorrow in the new industries, Biden said.

While technological development and wider use has helped make wind and solar power strongly competitive against coal and natural gas in the U.S., Biden said investment also would bring forward thriving, clean-energy fields “in things we haven’t even thought of so far.”

It’s all in service of an argument U.S. officials say will make or break Biden’s climate vision: Pouring trillions of dollars into clean-energy technology, research and infrastructure will speed a competitive U.S. economy into the future and create jobs, while saving the planet.

Republicans are sticking to the arguments that Trump made in pulling the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris climate accord. They point to China as the world’s worst climate polluter — the U.S. is No. 2 — and say any transition to clean energy hurts American oil, natural gas and coal workers.

It means “putting good-paying American jobs into the shredder,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor Thursday in a speech in which he dismissed the administration’s plans as costly and ineffective.

Much of the proposed spending to address climate change is included in Biden’s infrastructure bill, which would pay for new roads, safe bridges and reliable public transit, while boosting electric vehicles, clean drinking water and investments in clean energy such as solar and wind power.

Biden’s plan faces a steep road in the closely divided Senate, where Republicans led by McConnell have objected strongly to the idea of paying for much of it with tax increases on corporations.

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The White House says administration officials will continue to reach out to Republicans and will remind them that the proposal’s ideas are widely popular with Americans of all political persuasions.

The closing day of the summit also featured billionaires Bill Gates and Mike Bloomberg, steelworker and electrical union leaders and executives for solar and other renewable energy.

“We can’t beat climate change without a historic amount of new investment,” Bloomberg said.

“We have to do more, faster to cut emissions,” said Bloomberg, who’s donated millions to promote replacing dirty-burning coal-fired power plants with increasingly cheaper renewable energy.

Biden envoy John Kerry stressed the political selling point that the president’s call for retrofitting creaky U.S. infrastructure to run more cleanly would put the U.S. on a better economic footing long-term. “No one is being asked for a sacrifice,” Kerry said. “This is an opportunity.”

Presidents and prime ministers from around the world joined in to describe their own investments and commitments to break away from reliance on climate-damaging petroleum and coal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described scientists at hundreds of Israeli start-ups working hard to improve crucial battery storage for solar, wind and other renewable energy.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen renewed Denmark’s pledge to end oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, switching from offshore oil and gas rigs to wind farms.

On the summit’s opening day Thursday, Biden pledged the U.S. will cut fossil fuel emissions as much as 52% by 2030. South Korea, Japan, Canada and South Africa also joined in specific new emissions efforts timed to the summit.

Biden’s new goal puts the United States among the most ambitious nations in curbing climate change, the Rhodium Group, an independent research organization, announced overnight.

Different nations use different base years for their emission cuts so comparisons are difficult and can look different based on baseline years. The Rhodium Group said using the U.S.-preferred 2005 baseline, America is behind the United Kingdom but right with the European Union. It’s ahead of a second tier of countries that include Canada, Japan, Iceland and Norway.

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coronavirus

Psaki confirms more breakthrough COVID cases in White House that were not disclosed

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday confirmed that there have been breakthrough COVID-19 cases among White House staffers that had not previously been disclosed.

Psaki, during Tuesday’s White House briefing, confirmed reports that a vaccinated White House official and a vaccinated staffer for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tested positive for coronavirus after attending the same event. 

When asked if there had been other breakthrough positive COVID cases among staffers, Psaki said “there have been,” but did not disclose further details.

Psaki, did, though, maintain the administration’s commitment to disclose positive COVID-19 tests among “commissioned officers.”

“According to an agreement we made during the transition, we committed we would release information proactively,” Psaki said, adding that they “continue to abide by that commitment.”

When pressed further about whether there were previously undisclosed positive COVID cases among White House staff, Psaki said “that’s correct.” 

“There are hundreds of thousands in the federal government,” Psaki said, maintaining their commitment to make information available to the public. 

Psaki added that the White House staffer who tested positive for COVID this week was not a commissioned officer, and further confirmed that the other breakthrough cases among White House staff also were not commissioned officers.

Psaki said if a commissioned officer within the White House or administration tests positive, the White House would disclose that information. 

The White House official who tested positive for COVID-19 off White House grounds. 

“In accordance with our rigorous COVID-19 protocols, the official remains off campus as they wait for the a confirmatory PCR test,” a White House official said. “The White House Medical Unit has conducted contact tracing interviews and determined no close contacts among White House principals and staff. The individual has mild symptoms.” 

The official added that the administration knows “that there will be breakthrough cases, but as this instance shows, cases in vaccinated individuals are typically mild.” 

“The White House is prepared for breakthrough cases with regular testing,” the official said. “This is another reminder of the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines against severe illness or hospitalization.” 

The official added: “We wish our colleague a speedy recovery.” 

The news of the breakthrough cases come after six members of the Texas delegation tested positive for the virus after leaving the state capitol and coming to Washington last week in an attempt to thwart a special legislative session where Republicans seek to pass new election reforms.

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Vice President Kamala Harris met with members of the Texas delegation last Tuesday, but she’s since tested negative for COVID-19, Psaki confirmed on Monday.

“I think the vice president’s office put out that she was tested and there was no detection of COVID-19,” Psaki said. “They also put out some specific details about their proximity to the individuals who tested positive as well. We take these precautions incredibly seriously and abide by the guidance of our help and medical experts.”

Meanwhile, Drew Hammill, a top aide to Pelosi, said the unidentified staff member was fully vaccinated and did not have recent contact with the top California Democrat, though the speaker’s office is taking extra precautions as a result. 

“Yesterday, a fully vaccinated senior spokesperson in the speaker’s press office tested positive for COVID after contact with members of the Texas state legislature last week,” Hammill said in a statement obtained by Fox News.

“This individual has had no contact with the speaker since exposure. The entire press office is working remotely today with the exception of individuals who have had no exposure to the individual or have had a recent negative test.  Our office will continue to follow the guidance of the Office of Attending Physician closely.”

On Tuesday, Pelosi and her staff were spotted wearing masks again at the Capitol. Following a loosening of mask restrictions by the Capitol physician, many members have opted against masks in recent weeks. 

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biden administration

Don Jr: Trump Has Done More From Mar-a-Lago Than Biden Has From The White House

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Biden has done close to nothing for our country.

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Jen Psaki

Tammy Bruce: Jen Psaki never lets the truth get in the way of a good narrative

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Former DNI and former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus slam Biden’s agenda on ‘Hannity.’

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