While they did send representatives, the leaders of India and China, two of the world’s largest contributors to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, were noticeably absent from a follow-up video conference on climate change Friday, hosted by President Joe Biden.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping did not appear at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change Friday, hosted by President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry.
According to a readout of the meeting by the White House, each of those countries were represented by the People’s Republic of China Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua, Kerry’s counterpart in that country, and Indian Union Cabinet Minister of Labour and Employment, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav.
Othe nations not sending their leader included Russia and Germany, according to the readout.
The leaders of several other nations, including the United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, the European Commission, European Council and Bangladesh did attend the video conference.
The meeting was a follow-up to Biden’s April climate summit.
”That summit made good on a commitment that I made to the American people that the United States would return immediately to the world stage and address the climate crisis,” Biden said, opening the forum. ”I wanted to show that we’re at an inflection point, and that there’s a real consensus — a real consensus that while the climate crisis poses an existential threat, there is a silver lining.”
According to the Worldometer website, both China and India outpace the United States and other coal-producing nations with China producing 3,708,155,408,000 tons each year, followed by India with 761,622,038,400 annual tons, then the U.S. with 728,364,498,000 tons.
Australia, Russia, Indonesia, and all other countries follow on the list with at least 200,000,000,000 less annual tonnage produced.
Despite being the top two coal producers, neither China nor India reported what their plans were for new production levels in the coming years, according to a United Nations ”Production Gap” report from 2020.
”To limit warming to 1.5°C or well below 2°C, as required by the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world needs to wind down fossil fuel production,” the report executive summary said. ”Instead, governments continue to plan to produce coal, oil, and gas far in excess of the levels consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature limits.”
Biden reentered the 2015 Paris Agreement after taking office, reversing President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the agreement.
”For our part, in America, I’m working to pass historic investment in — to modernize our more climate-resilient infrastructure, to build a clean energy future that creates millions of jobs and ushers in new industries of the future,” Biden said during Friday’s meeting. ”As part of this work, the United States has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 50 and 52 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030.”