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Biden good for the planet: UK climate conference chief

20 January 2021, MVT 15:14
US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Electoral college certification at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware on December 14, 2020. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP)
20 January 2021, MVT 15:14

Joe Biden's election as US president is good news for climate change, the British politician in charge of hosting a United Nations' global climate change conference said Tuesday.

"Obviously a Biden presidency is good news in terms of tackling climate change," said Alok Sharma, the president of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26, to be held in Glasgow in November.

The COP-26 summit will take place from November 1 to 12 and call for urgent action to combat global warming.

"We are of course looking forward to working closely with the administration following the inauguration," Sharma told a parliamentary committee. Biden has promised to reverse a decision by out-going leader Donald Trump to pull out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord, and pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2050. "I very much welcome the commitments that the president-elect has already made," said Sharma, who took on the organising role this month after serving as business secretary.

He said the UK government had been talking to US climate policy experts "close to the incoming administration" and that he had spoken with John Kerry before his appointment as US climate envoy.

Former secretary of state Kerry said in December the US needed to "regain its credibility" after Trump rejected scientists' consensus view that industry is causing global warming.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson in November said he looked forward to working with Biden on issues including "tackling climate change".

Britain is preparing to host the major environmental forum in partnership with Italy. So far, it is hoping delegates will be physically present, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Sharma said that the pandemic had hindered in-person meetings but the UK had not "sat on its hands".

Johnson has been discussing the summit in calls with international leaders, including President Xi Jinping of China, France's Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel of Germany.

He also said the costs of fighting the pandemic did not affect the "totemic" goal for developed countries by 2025 to provide developing ones with at least $100 billion in climate finance annually.

"This is a difficult time in terms of fundraising but this is one of the areas that we are very keen to focus on and ensure that we get funding into the system to support developing countries," he said.

London, United Kingdom | AFP

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