Joe Biden has invited 40 world leaders to a virtual summit on the climate crisis, the White House said in a statement on Friday.
Heads of state, including Xi Jinping of China and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, have been asked to attend the two-day meeting meant to mark Washington’s return to the front lines of the fight against human-caused climate change, after Donald Trump disengaged from the process.
“They know they’re invited,” Biden said of Xi and Putin. “But I haven’t spoken to either one of them yet.”
The start of the summit on 22 April coincides with Earth Day, and will come ahead of a major UN meeting on the crisis, scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland.
Biden’s event is being staged entirely online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The president kept his campaign pledge to rejoin the Paris climate agreement on his first day in the White House, after Trump pulled out of the deal.
The return of the world’s largest economy and second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide became effective on 19 February and means almost all countries are now parties to the agreement signed in 2015.
By the time of the summit, the US will have announced “an ambitious 2030 emissions target”, according to a White House statement, and it will encourage others to boost their own goals under the Paris agreement.