President Biden’s climate summit begins on Thursday, Earth Day, and will feature a number of high-profile speakers and attendees, including leaders – and Pope Francis. Here is a breakdown of the Biden Administration’s biggest names and goals.
Which speakers should I watch out for?
President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will open the summit on Thursday at 8:00 am with remarks that will highlight the importance of global efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Pope Francis will speak later Thursday.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and David Malpass, the President of the World Bank, who recently expressed his support for a zero carbon future, will attend a morning session on financing solutions to climate change. In the afternoon, speakers will highlight climate work at the local level and discuss the security challenges of global warming.
The summit will resume on Friday. John Kerry, Biden’s top climate officer, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a session on the importance of technological innovations in reducing carbon emissions. In a later session on the economic benefits of tackling climate change, Microsoft founder Bill Gates will speak as the founder of Breakthrough Energy, a mutual fund that supports projects to reduce carbon emissions.
Which world leaders are taking part?
President Xi Jinping of China, America’s greatest rival on the world stage, has announced that he will be attending the virtual summit. The same goes for Presidents Vladimir V. Putin from Russia and Jair Bolsonaro from Brazil, with whom the Biden government is trying to negotiate a plan to protect the Amazon rainforest.
A number of prominent American allies are expected to be present, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Other key participants include Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga – leaders from whom the Biden government has sought to make commitments to reduce carbon emissions.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico are also expected. The White House has invited more than 40 world leaders in total.
What else is on the agenda?
Mr Biden will announce that the United States intends to cut emissions to warm the planet nearly in half by the end of the decade, a goal that will require Americans to change the way they drive, heat their homes and manufacture goods.
The new American target nearly doubles the Obama administration’s promise, and the Biden administration hopes the announcement will push other nations to accomplish their own goals.