COP26: A who’s who of the summit’s heavyweights

By Guillermo Ximenis

London, Oct 27 (EFE).- Political leaders, activists, global organizations and companies from around the world are getting ready to descend on the Scottish city of Glasgow for the United Nations COP26 climate summit, which kicks off on 31 October.

Here is a look at some of the summit’s headliners.


JOE BIDEN: One of the first things Biden did as United States president was to return to the Paris Agreement after his predecessor, Donald Trump, withdrew from the accord to keep global temperatures below 1.5 or 2C above pre-industrial levels. Biden’s administration has made the climate crisis one of its main focuses. His relationship with China, mired in security and trade disputes, will be one of the key issues at the Glasgow summit.

JOHN KERRY: The president’s special envoy for climate, Kerry signed the US up to the Paris Agreement during his time as secretary of state under Barack Obama in 2015. Kerry will play an important role at COP26 following a year of meetings around the world in preparation for the summit.

XI JINPING: The climate promises made this decade by China, a country of 1.4 billion people with its sights set firmly on becoming the world’s leading superpower, will be a major talking-point at the summit. Xi’s attendance in person at the summit is unconfirmed — and unlikely — but his absence would not necessarily be interpreted as a step back by Beijing.

XIE ZHENHUA: The veteran climate expert was the lead Chinese negotiator at the summits in Copenhagen and Paris. His return as China’s envoy can be interpreted as a diplomatic peace offering of sorts after years of frigid relations during Trump’s stint in the White House.

BORIS JOHNSON: The United Kingdom’s prime minister is set for a leading role as the summit’s host. His government has set its objectives on achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and has made the climate crisis one of its central priorities despite the fact that Johnson previously cast doubt on the link between human activity and climate change just after the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015.

ALOK SHARMA: As president of COP26, the UK’s former business secretary takes on a central role in this year’s climate negotiations.

MARIO DRAGHI: With Italy being the official co-host of the climate summit, PM Draghi’s presence is relevant. So, too, is the fact that he presides over the upcoming G20 meeting in Rome, which will act as a space for sideline negotiations related to climate.

NARENDRA MODI: With a population of 1.3 billion, reducing India’s emissions is crucial in the fight against the climate crisis. PM Modi is expected to be one of the few world leaders who will attend COP26 in person.

JAIR BOLSONARO: The Brazilian president’s contribution to the discussion on conservation efforts in the Amazon is critical, although he is not expected to join the summit.


GRETA THUNBERG: The young Swedish activist, 18, famous the world over for her Fridays for Future protests, will call on world leaders at COP26 to turn promises into action.

PRINCE CHARLES: The Prince of Wales, first in line to the UK throne, has advocated in favor of conservation and environmental projects for decades. He is due to appear at the summit in person, while his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was advised by doctors to stay at Buckingham Palace following a recent hospital visit.

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A national treasure in the UK, the 95-year-old naturalist wields considerable clout in the global climate conversation.

POPE FRANCIS: The head of the Catholic church, although not due to attend the summit in person, has called for more efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

GREENPEACE: The environmental organization considers the Glasgow summit to be the most important since Paris.

EXTINCTION REBELLION: Responsible for a raft of street protests in the UK, the activists have in recent weeks blocked traffic around London to highlight their calls for greater climate action.EFE

Related Articles

Back to top button