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What is Biden's Earth Day climate summit and what can we expect from the event?

As part of his ambitious climate strategy, Biden is hosting a global summit featuring 40 world leaders.
As part of his ambitious climate strategy, Biden is hosting a global summit featuring 40 world leaders.   -   Copyright  AP Photo

The Leaders Summit on Climate is due to take place this week with major world leaders in attendance. But what exactly is the event and why is it happening now?

After notably rejecting Donald Trump’s approach to environmental policy, US President Joe Biden is hoping to once again show his commitment to climate reform on the world stage in this week’s summit.

Shortly after recommitting the United States to the Paris Agreement, Biden was quick to announce his plans to convene a leaders summit to further discuss action on the climate crisis.

After announcing plans in late March, the summit is now just days away, but questions still remain over the outcomes and expectations of the virtual discussions.

What are the aims of the Leaders Summit on Climate?

According to official White House statements, The virtual summit aims to “galvanise efforts by the World’s major economies to tackle the climate crisis.” It’s hoped the talks will focus on the “urgency and economic benefits of stronger climate action.”

Overall, it appears that the US is clear and consistent in its efforts to dispel climate change denial, markedly encouraging action, rather than arguing over the science. With the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) happening this November in Glasgow, the summit promises to be an important step towards action on the climate crisis.

When and where will the summit be taking place?

The Leaders Summit on Climate will be hosted 22-23 April. As it is entirely virtual, it will be live-streamed for public viewing. Precise timings for the event are due to be released later this week.

Who is invited to the summit?

Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation, and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China.

Lintao Zhang/AP
The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, will be in attendance this week - albeit virtually.Lintao Zhang/AP

The final list of attendees who have accepted this invitation and will be attending the Summit is yet to be announced.

What can we expect from the summit?

Given China’s recent commitment to working with the US on reversing the climate crisis, President Xi Jinping is going to be one to watch. In spite of criticism over China’s stance on pollution and other aspects of the climate crisis, this summit could mark a significant policy shift for Jinping’s government.

Another interesting attendee could be Vladimir Putin, who has faced similar criticism over his handling of environmental matters. Will this summit be a key turning point in his stance on the climate crisis?

With COVID-19 still looming in the background, talks are also likely to revolve around how countries can rebuild economies in a way that promotes sustainability and reduces emissions. With the increased waste produced as a result of the pandemic, it will be difficult to ignore the ever-present effects of the global health crisis during the talks.