About 200 people watched former Secretary of State John Kerry, Biden's internationally focused climate envoy, present his closing comments live at the end of the two-day summit's first day through its YouTube channel for deaf viewers.
The video had been viewed by almost 8,000 people by Monday morning.
The summit's YouTube channel had posted separate videos of the event in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish — the languages of the United Nations. Combined, roughly 111,000 people watched the videos with the total reaching about 119,000 including the American Sign Language recording. Close to 16,000 people viewed the second day.
The data does not describe the summit's total engagement. News outlets issued their own live streams of the program, and White House videos of Biden's many appearances notched 65,000 views as well.
Yet the summit's numbers are hard to reconcile with the importance the White House is setting on climate change. The administration has repeatedly indicated it is one of the four crises it is prioritizing, along with the public health and economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and racial inequity after George Floyd's death last summer.
The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication issued a poll in January that discovered a majority of registered voters think global warming should be a high or very high priority for Biden and Congress. The poll was fielded after the 2020 election.
And Biden has reversed many of former President Donald Trump's policies that critics viewed as anti-environment throughout his first 100 days in office, such as reentering the United States in the Paris Agreement. He further declared the U.S. would strive to reduce emissions by up to 52% compared to 2005 levels by 2030 in an address to the more than 40 foreign leaders who logged on for the summit's opening day.
Biden, though, will have to pass sweeping pro-environment reforms through Congress to reach his own targets. In an effort to woo over skeptics, the White House is pitching its ideas in the context of job creation.
"He underscored America’s commitment to leading a clean energy revolution and creating good-paying, union jobs — noting that the countries that take decisive action now will reap the economic benefits of the future," the administration wrote in a fact sheet regarding the summit.