Former President Barack Obama will travel to Glasgow next month for a UN climate summit and will meet with young activists and deliver remarks putting the threat of the climate crisis into broader context, an Obama spokeswoman tells CNN.
“He will lay out the important progress made in the five years since the Paris Agreement took effect, highlight the leadership of young people around the globe, and urge more robust action going forward by all of us - governments, the private sector, philanthropy, and civil society,” Hannah Hankins said in a statement.
President Joe Biden will also be attending the summit, and so will 13 of his Cabinet members and senior administration officials, including his top domestic and international climate advisers Gina McCarthy and John Kerry. The expected show of force underscores the priority the Biden administration is placing on combating the climate crisis.
The international climate summit, called COP26, is taking place from Sunday, October 31, to Friday, November 12. COP is short for the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change, and 26 signifies this is the group’s 26th meeting.
The summit is taking place five years to the day that the Paris agreement took effect. In 2015, after the COP21, more than 190 countries signed onto the agreement at the time to limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but preferably to 1.5 degrees. Biden reentered the Paris agreement after former President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of it.
Obama championed addressing environmental issues while in office, but Trump – a longtime climate crisis denier – attempted to remove many of the policy guardrails installed by the Obama administration to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases. Since taking office, Biden has been reversing many of these actions by the Trump administration and has made ambitious pledges to tackle the climate crisis.
The summit comes as Biden’s climate agenda hangs in the balance on Capitol Hill. The fate of Biden’s ambitious climate promises is wrapped up in a large budget bill that is stalled in Congress as moderate and progressive Democrats sharply disagree on the size and scope of the plan.
Biden promised during his virtual Earth Day summit earlier this year that the US would slash its carbon emissions by 50 to 52% relative to 2005 levels by 2030. Many experts view Biden’s 2030 goal as a critical step for the US to get to net-zero emissions by 2050, a target scientist warn the world’s largest carbon emitters must hit to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
CNN’s Ella Nilsen contributed to this report.