US President Joe Biden includes Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping among the invitees to the first big climate talks of his administration.
US President Joe Biden has included rivals Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China among the invitees to the first big climate talks of his administration, an event the US hopes will help shape, speed up and deepen global efforts to cut climate-wrecking fossil fuel pollution.
Leaders of some of the world's top climate-crisis sufferers, do-gooders and backsliders round out the rest of the 40 invitations being delivered on Friday, administration officials told The Associated Press.
The president is seeking to revive a US-convened forum of the world's major economies on climate crisis that George W Bush and Barack Obama both used and Donald Trump let languish.
It will be held April 22 and 23.
Hosting the summit will fulfill a campaign pledge and executive order by Biden, and the administration is timing the event with its own upcoming announcement of what’s a much tougher US target for revamping the US economy to sharply cut emissions from coal, natural gas and oil.
Key players, tough conversations
The session – and whether it's all talk, or some progress – will test Biden's pledge to make climate crisis a priority among competing political, economic, policy and pandemic problems.
It also will pose a very public — and potentially embarrassing or empowering — test of whether US leaders, and Biden in particular, can still drive global decision-making after the Trump administration withdrew globally and shook up longstanding alliances.
The Biden administration intentionally looked beyond its international partners for the talks, an administration official said.
"It's a list of the key players and it’s about having some of the tough conversations and the important conversations," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss US plans for the event.
"Given how important … this issue is to the entire world, we have to be willing to talk about it and we have to be willing to talk about it at the high levels."
First climate summit in over four years
Trump mocked the science underlying urgent warnings on global heating and the resulting worsening of droughts, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
He pulled the United States out of the 2015 UN Paris climate accords as one of his first actions.
That makes next month’s summit the first major international climate discussions by a US leader in more than four years, although leaders in Europe and elsewhere have kept up talks.