Glasgow, United Kingdom, Nov 2 (EFE).- United States President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the leaders of China, Russia and Saudi Arabia should have joined him and their peers from more than 100 other countries for the United Nations climate summit here.
The absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan “was a problem,” Biden told a press conference in Glasgow as he prepared to return to Washington.
“I think it’s been a big mistake, quite frankly, for China,” he said of Xi’s decision to send a statement to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) instead of attending in person.
“The rest of the world is going to look to China and say, ‘What value added are they providing?’ And they’ve lost an ability to influence people around the world and all the people here at (COP26) – the same way, I would argue, with regard to Russia,” Biden said.
“We showed up, and by showing up we’ve had a profound impact on the way the rest of the world looks at the United States,” he said.
Earlier Tuesday, US and European Union officials in Glasgow said that more than 90 nations had committed to an agreement calling for 30 percent reductions in emissions of methane by 2030.
The signatories to the Global Methane Pledge do not include Beijing or Moscow.
Biden said that Russia and China were “walking away” from their international responsibilities.
“Not showing up, c’mon. The single most important thing that’s gotten the attention of the world is climate. From Iceland to Australia? It’s just a gigantic issue and they’ve walked away. How do you do that and claim to have any leadership mantle?,” the US president said.
Putin, Biden said, likewise “has serious, serious climate problems. And he is mum, on the willingness to do anything.”
The American president began his session with reporters by offering an upbeat assessment of the results so far at COP26.
“I can’t think of any two days where more has been accomplished on climate than these two days,” he said, though he acknowledged that “there’s a reason for people to be worried … if we don’t continue to move forward and make the kind of progress we’re now making.
“But I’m optimistic, because … populations of each of our countries have a different perspective than they did at COP25. All of a sudden, people are seeing these things happening they never thought would happen,” Biden said, referring to the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events.” EFE