President Biden Invites 40 World Leaders to Climate Summit

The U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, Mr. John Kerry, meeting the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on April 7, 2021. Photo: PIB
The U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, Mr. John Kerry, meeting the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on April 7, 2021. Photo: PIB

The Leaders Summit on Climate will underscore the urgency – and the economic benefits – of stronger climate action. 

The U.S. President Joe Biden has invited 40 world leaders to the Leaders Summit on Climate that he will host on April 22 and 23. The virtual Leaders Summit will be live streamed for public viewing.

President Biden took action on his first day in office to return the United States to the Paris Agreement. Days later, on January 27, he announced that he would soon convene a leaders summit to galvanize efforts by the major economies to tackle the climate crisis.

The Leaders Summit on Climate will underscore the urgency – and the economic benefits – of stronger climate action.  It will be a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow.

In recent years, scientists have underscored the need to limit planetary warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. A key goal of both the Leaders Summit and COP26 will be to catalyze efforts that keep that 1.5-degree goal within reach. The Summit will also highlight examples of how enhanced climate ambition will create good paying jobs, advance innovative technologies, and help vulnerable countries adapt to climate impacts.

By the time of the Summit, the United States will announce an ambitious 2030 emissions target as its new Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement. In his invitation, the President urged leaders to use the Summit as an opportunity to outline how their countries also will contribute to stronger climate ambition.

The Summit will reconvene the U.S.-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which brings together 17 countries responsible for approximately 80 percent of global emissions and global GDP. The President also invited the heads of other countries that are demonstrating strong climate leadership, are especially vulnerable to climate impacts, or are charting innovative pathways to a net-zero economy. A small number of business and civil society leaders will also participate in the Summit.

Key themes of the Summit will include:

Galvanizing efforts by the world’s major economies to reduce emissions during this critical decade to keep a limit to warming of 1.5 degree Celsius within reach.

Mobilizing public and private sector finance to drive the net-zero transition and to help vulnerable countries cope with climate impacts. 

The economic benefits of climate action, with a strong emphasis on job creation, and the importance of ensuring all communities and workers benefit from the transition to a new clean energy economy.

Spurring transformational technologies that can help reduce emissions and adapt to climate change, while also creating enormous new economic opportunities and building the industries of the future.

Showcasing subnational and non-state actors that are committed to green recovery and an equitable vision for limiting warming to 1.5 degree Celsius, and are working closely with national governments to advance ambition and resilience.

Discussing opportunities to strengthen capacity to protect lives and livelihoods from the impacts of climate change, address the global security challenges posed by climate change and the impact on readiness, and address the role of nature-based solutions in achieving net zero by 2050 goals. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy on Climate John Kerry met the Prime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi on April 7. As India is among the worst polluters in the world, Kerry briefed PM Modi about the upcoming Leaders’ Summit on Climate scheduled for 22-23 April 2021. 

Kerry said that the United States would support India’s climate plans by facilitating affordable access to green technologies and requisite finance. PM Modi agreed that cooperation between India and the United States particularly on financing innovation and faster deployment of green technologies would have a positive demonstration effect on other countries.

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Rakesh Raman