Biden’s virtual climate summit will bring together dozens of world leaders

Biden's virtual climate summit will bring together dozens of world leaders

Beijing announces Xi Jinping’s “important speech,” Putin announces plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Russia the day before

WASHINGTON – More than two dozen world leaders will speak at a virtual global climate change summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden on Earth Day Thursday.

Among the expected speakers are U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Xi Jinping would deliver an “important speech.

The Chinese leader’s views could seriously affect the future of global efforts to control climate change, as China remains the largest source of greenhouse gases, accounting for 28 percent of global emissions. This is double the rate of the United States, which ranks second.

Xi Jinping was among 40 world leaders Biden invited to the two-day summit.

He agreed to address the summit days after Biden’s special envoy on climate change, John Kerry, held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, in Shanghai last week.

The White House said Wednesday that Biden’s bilateral talks with any of the leaders are not expected.

The global climate summit is part of Biden’s efforts to restore U.S. leadership after his predecessor Donald Trump’s neglect of the issue.

In 2015, the former president pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which imposed limits on carbon emissions. Biden rejoined the agreement immediately after taking office.

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In his annual address to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday, Putin said he aims to have Russia’s greenhouse gas emissions lower than those of the EU in 30 years. He also announced plans to increase fines for industrial polluters.

“You made a profit at the expense of nature, clean up after yourself,” Putin said, recalling last year’s massive toxic spills in Krasnoyarsk Territory and Irkutsk Region.

State Department spokesman Ned Price welcomed Russia’s participation in the summit.

“We have repeatedly pointed out that in any relationship, even if it is predominantly competitive or even antagonistic, we often have common interests, and climate issues are one of those areas of common interest, including with the Russian Federation,” Price said.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is asking the U.S. for $1 billion in economic aid in exchange for a 40 percent reduction in deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.