Joe Biden will attend COP26 climate change talks, says White House

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US President Joe Biden will travel to Glasgow for the summit  (PA Wire)
US President Joe Biden will travel to Glasgow for the summit (PA Wire)

US President Joe Biden will travel to Glasgow for crucial COP26 climate talks in November, the White House has confirmed.

Mr Biden will be one of around 120 leaders set to attend the world leaders’ summit at the start of the two-week conference, which aims to drive action to curb global warming and avoid its most dangerous impacts.

He will come to the UK for two days after attending the G20 leaders’ summit in Rome, which will also be attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The US charge d’affaires, Philip Reeker, said in a tweet: “It’s official – President Biden will travel to Scotland for Cop26.

“The gathering in Glasgow will be a pivotal moment on the road towards a more secure, prosperous, and sustainable future for our planet.”

Mr Biden is sending 12 cabinet members and senior administration officials, including his top domestic and international climate advisers Gina McCarthy and John Kerry, CNN reported on Thursday.

Ahead of the talks, COP26 president Alok Sharma has urged world leaders to honour the Paris Agreement in 2015, which committed countries to try to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C – beyond which the most dangerous climate impacts will be felt.

But current action and pledges leave the world well off track to meeting the goal and avoiding the most dangerous heat waves, floods, damage to natural systems, rising sea levels and spread of diseases that higher temperatures will bring.

The UN climate talks in less than three weeks must secure agreement to accelerate climate action this decade to keep the 1.5C goal alive, Mr Sharma has warned.

Countries are expected to bring forward more ambitious plans before Cop26, under a five-year cycle, to get the world on track to meet the Paris goals and the summit is being seen as the most significant since the talks in the French capital.

All G7 nations, including the UK and US, have put forward new, more ambitious plans – known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement – for cutting emissions ahead of the talks.

But other major economies in the G20 group – including China, the world’s largest polluter – have yet to submit new versions of their plans, with time running out to honour their promise to do so before COP26 – making the G20 summit in Rome a potentially critical moment for climate action.

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