Ex-US president Obama to attend Glasgow climate summit, meet with youth activists

Former US President Barack Obama will travel to Glasgow, Scotland in November to attend the COP26 climate summit.
Former US President Barack Obama will travel to Glasgow, Scotland in November to attend the COP26 climate summit.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Former United States President Barack Obama will travel to Glasgow, Scotland next month to attend the COP26 climate summit, where he will meet with youth activists and address the threat of climate change, his spokesman said on Friday (Oct 15).

"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," said Ms Hannah Hankins.

News of Mr Obama's presence in Glasgow comes as US President Joe Biden aims to drum up momentum ahead of the Oct 31 to Nov 12 summit. Mr Biden confirmed on Thursday that he will attend the opening of the summit after participating in the Group-of-20 leaders summit in Rome.

The White House said it will bring 13 high-level officials and Cabinet members to the gathering on Thursday, demonstrating its "all of government" approach to tackling climate change.

Since rejoining the Paris climate agreement when Mr Biden took office in January, the administration set a goal to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent to 52 per cent over this decade.

But the President is at risk to arriving in Glasgow without much progress to show. A lot rides on whether the US Congress will pass key infrastructure and budget Bills that would set clean power and transportation goals and unleash trillions in spending.

US Congress members from Mr Biden's Democratic party have been negotiating about the Bills, with some opposed to the price tag and climate measures. Mr Biden needs solid Democratic support because the measures are opposed by Republican lawmakers.

Energy Innovation, a California based research group, said these Bills, if combined with state policies and executive action, could set the United States on a path to achieve its 2030 target.

Mr Obama, during his first term as president in 2009, travelled to Copenhagen, where he helped directly intervened in climate summit negotiations with other world leaders that resulted in an agreement that for the first time called emission pledges by all major economies, not just industrialised nations.