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White House confirms Joe Biden will travel to Glasgow for COP26 climate summit

Biden also have an audience with the Pope in Rome ahead of the G20.

US President Joe Biden.
US President Joe Biden.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

US PRESIDENT JOE Biden will travel to Glasgow for crucial COP26 climate talks, the White House has confirmed.

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.

Biden, America’s second Catholic president, and his wife Jill will also have an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on 29 October ahead of the G20. 

“They will discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity, including ending the Covid-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor,” the White House said in a statement.

The 78-year-old Biden is a practicing Catholic, who attends Mass at least once a week. John F. Kennedy was the country’s first Catholic president.

Following his time in Italy, Biden will travel to the UK for the crucial COP26 climate summit. 

The US charge d’affaires, Philip Reeker today confirmed the plans 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.”

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 1.5 degrees celsius – 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.

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The UN climate talks in less than three weeks must secure agreement to accelerate climate action this decade to keep the 1.5 degrees 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.

- With reporting by © – AFP 2021

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