United States President Joe Biden will host a virtual summit on April 22 to encourage the acceleration of global efforts to combat climate change. 40 world heads of state have been invited to attend the two-day event, including the leaders of China and Russia. Among those invited are the leaders of the Major Economies, the 17 countries responsible for 80% of the world’s GDP and carbon emissions, as well as non-profit innovators, industry leaders, and a number of celebrities involved in environmental efforts.
The two-day summit will coincide with the celebration of Earth Day and take place entirely virtually. Biden will use the event to urge leaders to upgrade their emissions reductions goals ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference that is scheduled to meet at the end of this year. The White House plans to set an example for other summit attendees, with plans to announce an “ambitious 2030 emissions target,” before the virtual forum.
The virtual summit is considered a move by Washington to reposition the United States as a leader in the fight for environment preservation following several years of regression under Donald Trump. The Trump administration made several decisions that delayed climate action progress, most notably dismantling Obama’s Clean Power Plan, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and pulling the US out of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Climate action was a key platform for Biden during his presidential campaign, and the former Vice President under Obama has been quick to roll back the regressive action of the previous administration. Under Biden, Washington has rejoined the Paris Agreement, reinstating the second-largest producer of carbon dioxide as a party of the global effort to reduce carbon emissions.
Scientists and UN Climate Change have said that the world has fallen far behind in its efforts to reduce the long-term effects of global warming. According to UN Climate Change, only 30% of global emissions are covered by the climate pledges made by the more than 75 countries who have committed to climate action.
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