When President Biden was asked in Rome on Sunday about criticism of the world’s richest economies for doing more to tackle climate change, he noted the absence of two key players: China and Russia.
“Not just Russia, but China basically didn’t come forward in terms of commitments to tackle climate change,” the president told reporters. “There is a reason why people should be disappointed by that. I was disappointed in myself. “
A day later, when Biden joined more than 100 world leaders who had arrived in Glasgow for a critical climate summit, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Great Britain, the leaders of China and Russia met. they were among the most important. notable non-presentations.
With Xi Jinping from China and Vladimir V. Putin From Russia, Jair bolsonaro from Brazil and Recep Tayyip Erdogan from Turkey do not attend the summit.
The presence of heads of state and government in the talks is not only symbolic. Real work is done among leaders that cannot occur among lower-level diplomats. During the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen, President Barack Obama broke into a secret meeting held by the leaders of China, India, Brazil and South Africa. The discussions that followed helped close a deal, although weak.
So the high-profile absences this time have dismayed some pundits.
“Even as most democracies are making ambitious climate commitments, the world’s most powerful autocrats in Beijing, Moscow, and elsewhere are poking fun under their noses, refusing to cut their emissions and even to stand at climate negotiations,” Paul said. Bledsoe, who advised the Clinton White House on climate change and is now at the Progressive Policy Institute.
Putin said more than a week ago that he would not attend the summit, which indicates that you are concerned about the coronavirus.
“The president unfortunatelyhe will not speak, because the option to participate by videoconference is not available in Glasgow, “said Dmitri S. Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman.
Peskov responded to Biden’s comments by saying that Russia “was already ahead of many countries, including those in Western Europe,” in the transition to low-carbon energy sources.
Putin, addressing the Group of 20 summit in Rome via video on Sunday, said that 86 percent of Russia’s energy consumption came from nuclear power, renewables and natural gas. Critics point out that while natural gas emits roughly half the carbon dioxide of coal, it still generates pollution that is warming the planet and its pipelines are vulnerable to leaks of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Bolsonaro, criticized for his environmental policies, has not given a reason for his absence. Attended the G20 talks over the weekend, and you’re visiting an Italian city that plans to grant you honorary citizenship instead of going to the climate conference.
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who vowed to make tackling climate change a priority, was also expected to fly to Glasgow after the G20 summit, but instead flew back to Istanbul, state news agency Anadolu reported on Monday. The reason for skipping the climate talks was a protocol issue involving his delegation in Glasgow, an official told reporters. Turkey’s Environment Minister is expected to attend the conference instead.
Xi is expected to issue a statement at the Glasgow summit. He has not publicly left China since the coronavirus spread from the Chinese city of Wuhan.