Biden's Guest List for Talks on Climate Includes Putin, Xi

Administration sends out 40 invitations for next month's forum
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 26, 2021 5:05 PM CDT
Putin, Xi Are Welcome at Biden's Climate Talks
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, center left, attend talks at the Kremlin in 2019.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool, File)

President Joe Biden is including Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China among the invitees to the first big climate talks of his administration, an event the US hopes will help shape, speed up, and deepen global efforts to cut climate-wrecking fossil fuel pollution, administration officials told the AP. The president is seeking to revive a US-convened forum of the world's major economies on climate that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both used and Donald Trump let languish. Leaders of some of the world's top climate-change sufferers, do-gooders and backsliders round out some of the rest of the 40 invitations being delivered Friday. It will be held virtually April 22-23. Hosting the summit will fulfill a campaign pledge and executive order by Biden, and the administration is timing the event with its own announcement of a much tougher US target for revamping the economy to sharply cut emissions from coal, natural gas, and oil.

The Biden administration intentionally looked beyond its international partners for the talks, an administration official said. "Given how important … this issue is to the entire world, we have to be willing to talk about it and we have to be willing to talk about it at the high levels," the official said. The Biden administration hopes the stage provided by next month's Earth Day climate summit—planned to be all virtual because of COVID-19 and all publicly viewable by livestream, including breakout conversations—will encourage other international leaders to use it as a platform to announce their own countries' tougher emission targets or other commitments, ahead of November’s UN global climate talks in Glasgow. The administration hopes more broadly the session will help galvanize governments to get moving on specific, politically bearable ways to retool their transportation and power sectors and overall economies now to meet those tougher future targets.

(Read more climate change stories.)

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