Singapore and India are among the few countries that agreed to attend US President Joe Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, with less than three weeks to go. Just eight of the 40 heads of state invited to take part in the online event have so far accepted.
The two-day summit is set to start on April 22 – Earth Day – which marks the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement. The White House said earlier that by the time of the event, the US would have announced an ambitious 2030 emissions target.
In his invitation, Biden “urged leaders to use the summit as an opportunity to outline how their countries also will contribute to stronger climate ambition”, it said.
The other six nations that have confirmed their participation are Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Colombia, Marshall Islands, Mexico and Poland.
The summit would also reconvene the US-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which brings together 17 countries responsible for about 80 per cent of global emissions and global GDP.
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong accepted his invitation on March 27, just a day after it was sent.
“Climate change is an existential threat to mankind, and requires a concerted and sustained global response,” the Singaporean foreign ministry said. “As a small island state, Singapore is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.”
India’s foreign ministry said last week that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also accepted his invitation. The United States’ special envoy for climate John Kerry is set to visit New Delhi this week.
Kerry will meet with representatives of the Indian government, private sector and non-governmental organisations.
As per a spokesperson at the US Embassy in New Delhi, Kerry is travelling to Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, and Dhaka from April 1-9 for consultations on increasing climate ambition ahead of the summit on April 22-23 and the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) later this year.
"As one of the world's largest economies and a global leader in science and innovation, India is a critical part of the solution to the climate crisis. We see India as an important partner on future clean energy research, development, and deployment, not least because of their successful domestic agenda in this area. A key focus for our Administration is supporting and encouraging India's decarbonisation efforts through clean, zero, and low-carbon investment, and supporting India in mitigating its fossil energy use," the spokesperson said.
This is Kerry's first visit to India as the US' Special Envoy for Climate Change.