Energy & Environment

Putin, Xi among leaders invited to White House climate summit

UPI Photo

The White House on Friday announced a list of 40 world leaders it has invited to participate in its Leaders Summit on Climate from April 22-23, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Biden administration also pledged to announce its new Nationally Determined Contribution, its goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate agreement before the summit.

In addition to Xi and Putin, invitees include Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“The Summit will reconvene the U.S.-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which brings together 17 countries responsible for approximately 80 percent of global emissions and global GDP,” the White House said in a statement Friday.

Chinese officials have pledged to become fully carbon-neutral by 2060.

However, U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry said in February that major emitters must go beyond the commitments of the Paris agreement. China is the world’s single largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

“We need the United States and every country to determine they will get on a path toward net-zero emissions by 2050. That is not something that we will do by countries just stepping up and saying ‘hey, we commit,'” Kerry said.

Meanwhile, Russia, the fourth-largest emitter worldwide, announced an emissions-reduction plan of its own last year.
The plan calls for a 33 percent reduction by 2030 relative to 1990 levels, which the World Resources Institute said would improve on its then-current pledge of 25-30 percent but still represent a significant increase in emissions relative to 2020.
In the U.S., former President Obama set the goal of reducing U.S. emissions by between 26 and 28 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2025. The U.S. has not increased its commitments since then. 

The president also invited the heads of other countries that are demonstrating strong climate leadership, are especially vulnerable to climate impacts, or are charting innovative pathways to a net-zero economy. A small number of business and civil society leaders will also participate in the summit.

In its announcement, the White House outlined several of what it described as key themes of the summit. These include highlighting the economic benefits of climate action and promoting the development of emission-reducing technologies.

Other themes include equipping public and private finance institutions to advance the administration’s goal of net-zero emissions and “discussing opportunities to strengthen capacity to protect lives and livelihoods from the impacts of climate change, address the global security challenges posed by climate change and the impact on readiness, and address the role of nature-based solutions in achieving net zero by 2050 goals.”

Biden reentered the Paris climate agreement on his first day in office, following the move shortly thereafter with a series of climate-related orders.

A moratorium on new leases for oil and gas leasing on federal lands — part of the series of orders — has been met with sharp resistance from Republicans, including a challenge in court. 

Updated 5:27 p.m.

— Rachel Frazin contributed to this report

Tags John Kerry Justin Trudeau Vladimir Putin

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