Biden invites Saudi Arabia and UAE to Leaders Summit on Climate

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are the only Arab parties invited to the US-hosted summit next month

The White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, March 26, 2021. President Biden says efforts to restrict voting in several states must end and calls a new law in Georgia an un-American move to deny people their right to cast ballots. Photographer: Erin Scott/Bloomberg
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US President Joe Biden invited on Friday the leaders of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and 38 other heads of state to attend the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate that Washington will host on April 22 and 23.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE were the only Arab leaders on the list of invitees released by the White House.

Other invited leaders include Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were also invited.

“The Leaders Summit on Climate will underscore the urgency – and the economic benefits – of stronger climate action. It will be a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Cop26) this November in Glasgow,” a statement from the White House read.

The list of invitees is made up of the 17 countries responsible for approximately 80 percent of global emissions and global GDP, along with heads of other countries “that are demonstrating strong climate leadership, are especially vulnerable to climate impacts, or are charting innovative pathways to a net-zero economy,” the White House added.

The UAE was one of the first countries contacted by John Kerry, the US special envoy for climate. Just 10 days after coming into office, Mr Kerry held talks with Emirati minister and special climate envoy Dr Sultan Al Jaber on joint efforts to deliver global action on key environmental issues.

Dr Al Jaber, who is also the minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, was Mr Kerry's first official call to the region.

The April climate summit will focus on six goals, according to the White House.

These include reducing emissions during this decade to keep the limit of warming 1.5°C within reach; mobilising public and private sector finance to drive the net-zero transition and help vulnerable countries cope with climate impacts; and addressing the economic benefits of climate action, with a strong emphasis on job creation.

The other goals include spurring transformational technologies that can help reduce emissions and adapt communities to climate change; showcasing subnational and non-state actors that are committed to green recovery and an equitable vision for limiting warming to 1.5°C; and discussing opportunities to strengthen the capacity to protect lives and livelihoods from the impact and security challenges of climate change, and address the role of nature-based solutions in achieving goals to reach net zero by 2050.

This will be the first global summit hosted by Mr Biden since taking office in January.

Mr Biden reversed many of the decisions that his predecessor Donald Trump had taken on the issue of climate change, including returning the US to the Paris Agreement.