Mar 27, 2021 06:59 UTC
  • Biden invites world leaders, including Putin and Xi, to climate summit

President Joe Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China, to participate in a climate summit next month.

The summit will begin on Earth Day, April 22, and like all of Biden’s international meetings so far, it will be held virtually.

That format may ensure a fair bit of public posturing by the leaders on how climate is an issue on which they can all work together — and it eliminates the potential problem of “pull aside” meetings on other topics with American adversaries.

Over the past 10 days, Biden has called Putin a “killer” and said that Xi did not have a democratic “bone in his body.” But he has promised to cooperate with them on common challenges.

Among the invitees are the leaders of all the United States’ major European and Asian allies, along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and the leaders of some tiny nations such as Bhutan and the Marshall Islands.

The US is the world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind China. Russia is the fourth-largest emitter. It's unclear if Russia and China will accept invitations to the summit or whether they'll be interested in working with the US to curb emissions.

The Obama administration vowed to cut US emissions up to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, but former President Donald Trump halted federal efforts to meet that target.

The summit comes as Biden pledges to transition the US economy towards clean energy and reduce emissions from coal, natural gas and oil. Biden brought the US back into the Paris climate accord in January after Trump said in 2017 he was pulling the country out.