Biden climate summit: When is US hosting global talks?

Dozens of world leaders have been invited to attend including Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping

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President Joe Biden is hosting a virtual world leaders summit to address the climate emergency, beginning on Earth Day next week.

It’s hoped that the event will spark more ambitious targets to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, which are rapidly heating the planet and bringing more extreme and unpredictable events.

When is Biden holding the climate talks?

The talks will take place on 22 and 23 April. The entire event is being held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will be live-streamed to the public.

Who is attending?

The Biden administration has invited 40 world leaders including Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, a signal that the US is willing to put the climate crisis above even its most strained international relations.

President Xi is expected to attend, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday.

Invitations have gone out to leaders of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which total about 80 per cent of global emissions. Nations on the frontlines of the climate crisis, already facing more extreme weather and rising sea levels, have also been asked to attend.

The US climate summit is being viewed as a key milestone ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, in Glasgow this November.

Climate scientists warn that global heating needs to be kept well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, with an aim for an increasingly ambitious 1.5C goal, to avoid the worst of climate breakdown.

The Leaders Summit and COP26 are aimed at catalysing efforts that keep that 1.5C goal within reach, the White House said last month.

The Biden administration intentionally looked beyond its international partners for the talks, an administration official said last month.

“It’s a list of the key players and it’s about having some of the tough conversations and the important conversations,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AP.

“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.”

What do the talks hope to achieve?

The US is expected to announce a tougher 2030 emissions-reduction target ahead of the climate summit.

The target, known as a “nationally determined contribution” (NDC), is each nation’s short-term pledge on cutting emissions and a required part of the Paris Agreement.

The US has been urged to slash emissions between 57-63 per cent below 2005 levels this decade, in order to stay in line with the target of net-zero emissions no later than 2050, according to analysis by Climate Action Tracker.

This would be a significant jump on previous goals. Barack Obama committed to reducing emissions 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025, when 200 nations signed the Paris Agreement in 2015.

President Biden hopes a renewed US commitment, following four years of inertia by the Trump administration, will be enough to convince other major emitters to up the ante, and turn the tide on global emissions which continue to rise.

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