Barack Obama to attend COP26 climate summit in Glasgow

Former US president will meet young activists and deliver remarks 'putting the threat of the climate crisis into broader context'.

Barack Obama to attend COP26 climate summit in Glasgow Chip Somodevilla / Staff via Getty Images
Barack Obama is attending COP26 in Glasgow.

Former US President Barack Obama has confirmed he will attend the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

He will meet with young activists and deliver remarks “putting the threat of the climate crisis into broader context”, an Obama spokeswoman told US broadcaster CNN.

Obama will join US President Joe Biden and more than 120 heads of state at the conference, which begins at the Scottish Event Campus on October 31.

Biden will come to the UK for two days after attending the G20 leaders’ summit in Rome, which will also be attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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Ahead of the talks, COP26 President Alok Sharma has urged world leaders to honour the Paris Agreement in 2015, which committed countries to try to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C – beyond which the most dangerous climate impacts will be felt.

But current action and pledges leave the world well off track to meeting the goal and avoiding the most dangerous heat waves, floods, damage to natural systems, rising sea levels and spread of diseases that higher temperatures will bring.

The UN climate talks in less than three weeks must secure agreement to accelerate climate action this decade to keep the 1.5C goal alive, Sharma has warned.

Countries are expected to bring forward more ambitious plans before COP26, under a five-year cycle, to get the world on track to meet the Paris goals and the summit is being seen as the most significant since the talks in the French capital.

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All G7 nations, including the UK and US, have put forward new, more ambitious plans – known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement – for cutting emissions ahead of the talks.

But other major economies in the G20 group – including China, the world’s largest polluter – have yet to submit new versions of their plans, with time running out to honour their promise to do so before COP26 – making the G20 summit in Rome a potentially critical moment for climate action.