Since taking office in 2018, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Mexican President, has revived coal facilities, put a stop to new renewable energy projects, and criticized wind turbines as unsightly “fans” that blight the landscape. He has invested billions building a state-possessed oil refinery and has backed legislation requiring Mexico’s electric company to use more power from state-run facilities, which are mostly fueled by crude oil and coal, as part of his goal for “energy sovereignty.” President Biden has advocated for massive investments in clean energy and is working to wean the country and the world off fossil fuels. López Obrador’s energy policies are opposed to President Biden’s.
However, when the two presidents meet for the first time in Washington, President Biden may not be able to press Obama to confront climate issue, no matter how important it is to his agenda. That’s because Biden is banking on López Obrador’s help in lowering migration to the U.S., which has been a persistent problem for his administration. The United States and Mexico are nearing an agreement to resume the so-dubbed Remain in Mexico program, which sees asylum applicants detained in camps on the Mexican side of the border while they await immigration proceedings.
“What truly matters to Biden is migration, and he intends to ensure sure that Mexico stays to cooperate on that front,” said Pamela Starr, an international relations professor at USC who has previously counseled ambassadors from both nations. “He doesn’t want to call Mexico out.” Energy and migratory politics are just two of the most important and difficult topics confronting Biden and López Obrador as they convene at the White House for the North American Leaders’ Summit, which also includes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Even though President Trump did not host a summit of the three countries — popularly referred to as the “three amigos” — during his 4 years in office, Biden has attempted to rekindle diplomatic ties since taking office.
Although López Obrador, also known by his abbreviations AMLO, and Biden are both considered economic lefties, their political views diverge from there. Biden has pledged to “make America respected again,” attempting to reestablish the United States as a global leader and restoring a sense of decorum to his country’s highest office.
López Obrador, on the other hand, maybe as abrasive as Trump, publicly sparring with journalists, feminists, and anybody else who dares to criticize him. He’s put his home agenda before international matters, only leaving Mexico twice before his trip to Washington this week.