Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are skipping the United Nation’s (UN) big climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland next week.

The meeting, officially called the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26), is attracting heads of state from far and wide. U.S. President Joe Biden will be there, as well as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

Why is it such a big deal that Xi and Putin are staying home? The Washington Times explains:

“The president of China, by far the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, isn’t going. Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose economy would collapse if the world stops buying and burning Russia’s fossil fuels, also won’t be there.

“Their absence, coupled with weak or vague climate action plans put forward by other major polluters such as India, Brazil and Mexico, is already hanging like smog over COP26, the United Nations-led climate summit that begins Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland.”

It has been over five years since the Paris Climate Accord was adopted. Part of the Paris Climate Accord requires that member nations essentially re-up their commitments to slash emissions every five years. So if the leader of the nation with the biggest emissions isn’t going (Xi), and neither is the leader of the nation providing the energy that’s keeping everyone’s lights on (Putin), what does the UN really hope to accomplish?

What’s likely is lots of speeches, lots of promises, and lots of, well, hyperbole.

Greta Thunberg seemed to be correct when she characterized all the promises of “net zero” emissions, and endless climate meetings as “blah, blah, blah.”

CFACT is sending a delegation to COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland to report on breaking news, provide expert analysis, and perform some of CFACT’s signature activism. Stay tuned for updates here at cfact.org.

Read the Washington Times article here.

Author

  • Adam Houser

    Adam Houser coordinates student leaders as National Director of CFACT's collegians program and writes on issues of climate and energy.