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Johnson to press Biden, UN on climate action ahead of key summit

Kitty Donaldson, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

Johnson’s hand-picked COP26 President Alok Sharma told broadcasters that while China’s role in climate talks is critical as the world’s biggest emitter, he couldn’t yet say if President Xi Jinping will attend the summit.

“Normally these things come a bit closer to summits,” he told the BBC. “I am very, very hopeful that we will have a delegation from China that is coming.”

Though the defense pact is likely to have lifted the mood, Johnson’s relationship with Biden has also been strained on issues including Brexit and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. Their meeting Tuesday in Washington will attract intense scrutiny.

Johnson also faces domestic pressure over his government’s green policies, as ministers prepare for a third day of crisis talks with energy companies over a surge in gas and electricity prices caused, in part at least, by calm weather reducing output from the nation’s wind farms.

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At the end of the UN General Assembly this week, the U.K. will publish a list of countries’ climate finance commitments so far, and Johnson will he hoping that helps build momentum. The U.K. has committed 11.6 billion pounds ($16 billion) over the next five years.

On Monday, Johnson will announce a further 550 million pounds to support developing countries accelerate the phasing out of coal — another goal of the COP26 meeting. He will co-host a breakout meeting on climate change with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

While in the U.S., Johnson will also meet’s Bezos to discuss climate change, as well as international efforts to reach a consensus on taxing tech companies.

“We have been an advocate for an international solution to the tax challenges posed by digitalization of the economy,” Johnson’s spokesman, Max Blain, told reporters ahead of the U.S. trip. “We will very much be looking to raise that.”

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