Climate change: Biden summit to push for immediate action
It's expected that the US will unveil an updated carbon pledge that will see its emissions nearly halved by 2030.
Ahead of the meeting, officials urged greater ambition on countries perceived as laggards on climate.
Referring to Australia, an official said "there would have to be a shift" in their approach.President Joe Biden hopes to rally the world on climate as he unveils more ambitious US commitments Thursday at a summit that will bring on board adversaries China and Russia and follows firmer commitments by the European Union and Britain.
Just three months into office, Biden will welcome 40 leaders for the two-day virtual Earth Day summit, heralding a U.S. return to the climate frontlines amid mounting worries over the rapid heating of the planet.
Green groups expect that Biden, who is pushing a green-friendly $2 trillion infrastructure package at home, will roughly double US targets for slashing emissions responsible for climate change over the next decade.
Biden hopes the new US goal will prompt other leaders “to make announcements to raise their ambition” as well, an administration official said.China confirmed that President Xi Jinping will take part and give an “important speech” — his first summit, even if virtual, with Biden as president amid soaring tensions between the two powers on issues from human rights to trade to defense.
His speech comes days after John Kerry, the former secretary of state turned globe-trotting Biden climate envoy, visited Shanghai and reached a joint statement on cooperation.
China is by far the largest carbon producer and with the United States emits around half of the pollution responsible for climate change, meaning any solution is impossible without both countries.
China last year promised to go carbon neutral by 2060 with emissions peaking at around 2030 but it has also kept up reliance on coal, the dirtiest form of energy, and bristled at EU-led calls for a carbon tax that would hit its exports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin -- under fire from Biden over Moscow’s purported election interference and hacking and the treatment of ailing jailed dissident Alexei Navalny -- also accepted the invitation to participate, saying in an address that the world’s fourth largest emitter “must respond to the challenges of climate change.”