President Joe Biden has asked 40 world leaders to a virtual two-day summit to ramp up efforts in tackling the climate emergency, beginning on Earth Day, 22 April.
Invitations have gone out to leaders of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which total about 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Nations on the frontlines of the climate crisis, already facing more extreme weather and rising sea levels, have also been invited along with a number of nations championing climate action.
The list includes Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, a signal that the US is willing to put the climate crisis above even its most strained international relations. President Xi is expected to attend, according to a report, while Mr Putin remains a question mark.
For its part, the US is expected to announce a tougher 2030 emissions-reduction target ahead of the summit. The “nationally determined contribution” (NDC), as it’s known, is each nation’s short-term pledge on emissions and a required part of the Paris Agreement. The Biden administration has been urged by environmentalists and business leaders alike to slash admissions by at least half this decade.
The New York Times reported this week that ahead of the summit, the Biden administration was close to clinching tougher emissions reduction promises from Japan, South Korea and Canada. But deals had not yet been reached with China, India and Brazil who, along with the US, account for more than half of global emissions.