Biden invites Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping to climate summit

President Joe Biden comments on how to address climate change before signing executive actions as White House climate envoy John Kerry and Vice President Kamala Harris listen in the White House State Dining Room in Washington, USA. ., Jan 27, 2021.

Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

President Joe Biden said on Friday that Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China are invited to the climate summit of world leaders that the administration will organize in April.

The president told reporters that he has not directly invited Putin or Xi, but said leaders “know they are invited” to the summit, an event the United States organizes to promote global efforts to reduce emissions of fossil fuels that they change the weather.

Subsequently, the White House published a list of 40 world leaders invited to the summit, including Xi and Putin.

Biden said he spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday and with EU member states on Thursday. The White House has prioritized speaking with close allies of the United States before reaching out to China and Russia.

The administration plans to unveil a new carbon emissions target at the summit, which will be held remotely on April 22-23. Biden pledged to host the climate talks during his campaign and through an executive order in January. The summit takes place ahead of the UN global climate talks in November in Glasgow, Scotland.

The United States is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, behind China. Russia is the fourth largest emitter. It is unclear whether Russia and China will accept invitations to the summit or if they will be interested in working with the United States to curb emissions.

The White House has said it wants to cooperate with Russia and China on climate change despite mounting tensions between the countries in other areas. The Biden administration has repeatedly singled out Beijing and Moscow as the top national security threats to the US.

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The Obama administration promised to cut U.S. emissions to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, but former President Donald Trump halted federal efforts to reach that goal. The Biden administration is expected to introduce a stricter target for the nation to meet by 2030.

The summit comes as Biden agrees to transition the American economy to clean energy and reduce emissions from coal, natural gas and oil. Biden returned the United States to the Paris climate accord in January after Trump said in 2017 that he was taking the country out.

Biden has said the United States will re-commit to its emission reduction targets under the agreement and lead the effort to help other nations update their own targets. The president has also promised to put the United States on the path to zero-carbon electricity generation by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050.


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