It’s official: Biden travelling to Glasgow climate summit

It’s official: Biden travelling to Glasgow climate summit

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) To mark a show of leadership, US President Joe Biden will be travelling to Glasgow on November 1 to attend the upcoming crucial UN Climate Change Conference COP26 — a pivotal moment on the road towards a more secure and sustainable future since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Also Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday confirmed he will attend the climate talks.

Now the eyes of the world are on all of nations to translate political will and positive intentions into concrete commitments and practical action, commensurate with keeping 1.5 degrees Celsius alive.

Sending a strong message to translate political will and positive intentions into concrete commitments, commensurate with keeping 1.5 degrees alive, the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II has hit out at world leaders, including China and Russia, over not confirming their attendance at the climate summit, saying: “It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.”

The bold and immediate actions of the summit, which is being held a year after it was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, include achieving net-zero target, coal phase-out plan, long-term strategy and climate finance.

According to the White House, the President and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Glasgow from November 1-2 to participate in the World Leaders Summit at the start of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26).

He will arrive at the largest city in Soctland after travelling to Europe and having an audience with Pope Francis in Vatican City.

Planning a show of strength, Biden is sending 10 Cabinet members and senior administration functionaries, including White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, to the Glasgow summit to work with others on addressing global challenges.

Responding to the White House’s announcement on Thursday, COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma tweeted: “We look forward to welcoming @POTUS to Glasgow #COP26.”

According to the UN Climate Change Secretariat, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited heads of state and government to participate in the World Leaders Summit, which will take place on November 1 and 2, when the first part of the high-level segment for heads of state and government during the conference will also take place.

The invitation signifies the importance for world leaders to deliver concrete actions and credible plans aimed at achieving successful COP goals and coordinated action to tackle climate change.

In the run up to COP26 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Johnson exchanged views on climate action on October 11.

“Was a pleasure to speak to Prime Minister @BorisJohnson. We reviewed progress on the India-UK Agenda 2030, exchanged views on climate action in the context of the forthcoming COP-26 in Glasgow, and shared our assessments on regional issues including Afghanistan,” Modi had tweeted.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Russian President Vladimir Putin are yet to decide on their physical attendance at the summit.

“President Biden yesterday, PM Scott Morrison todaywe are looking forward to welcoming 100++ leaders from all parts of the world to #Glasgow for #COP26,” British COP26 Envoy John Murton tweeted on Friday.

Ahead of COP26, Putin announced that Russia will aim at carbon neutrality no later than 2060 — a big step.

The COP26 comes against the backdrop of the latest IPCC report released in August, which showed that unless there are rapid, sustained and large-scale reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, the Paris Agreement goal will be impossible to reach.

It was followed by the NDC Synthesis Report, an assessment of all national climate action plans, showing that under current path temperatures could rise to 2.7 degrees Celsius.

Earlier this week, UN’s top climate change official Patricia Espinosa addressed Ministers from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as they met to discuss key priorities heading into the COP26.

In a keynote address, the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary acknowledged the frustration being felt by many LDCs about lack of progress on issues which are the most important for these countries.

“Nobody understands like you the gravity of our climate emergency. I encourage you to make your priorities as strong as possible and as ambitious as possible at this meeting,” she said.

The world’s 46 least developed countries have already been hit hardest by the impacts of the climate emergency, despite contributing very little to overall emissions. And these countries are in dire need of financial assistance to tackle accelerating climate impacts, which include ever more frequent and intense storms, droughts and floods.

For nearly three decades, the UN has been bringing together almost the every country for global climate summits.

More than 190 world leaders will be in Scotland along with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens for 12 days of talks.

In Paris in 2015, every country agreed to work together to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees.

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