President Biden’s whirlwind European tour appears to be catching up with him, as the 78-year-old was caught resting his eyes during the opening remarks of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
The president looked to be dozing off as one speaker underscored the importance of taking action to save the climate. He opened his eyes and appeared to liven up when an aide walked up to him to chat.
Biden then sat forward and rubbed his eyes as Italy’s prime minister took the stage.
Biden touched down in Scotland on Monday morning before promptly climbing into his huge motorcade to travel to a climate summit where he plans to tout American leadership on tackling carbon emissions, after spending the weekend in Rome meeting with Pope Francis and Italian leaders and attending the G2-.
After making the short hop from Rome in Air Force One – a modified 747 – his gas-guzzling convoy of more than 20 vehicles will raise fresh criticisms of hypocrisy.
At the G20 in Rome he used an 85-vehicle convoy, including vans for officials, secret service and journalists, as well as ambulances and communications systems.
He was greeted warmly by Boris Johnson, British prime minister, and U.S. Secretary General Antonio Guterres when he arrived at the conference center. The leaders swapped elbow bumps and warm smiles.
Earlier officials said Biden would urge other nations to do more in a speech on Monday.
President Biden’s whirlwind European tour appears to be catching up with him, as the 78-year-old was caught resting his eyes during the opening remarks of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow
The president looked to be dozing off as one speaker underscored the importance of taking action to save the climate
He opened his eyes and appeared to liven up when an aide walked up to him to chat
Officials did not name names as they previewed his remarks, but the presidents of key polluters Russia and China are not attending the talks and India has said it will not be changing its reliance on coal any time soon.
Biden will today release a detailed plan to half carbon emissions by the end of the decade, compared with 2005 levels.
And he plans to launch a scheme to raise $3 billion a year to help developing countries adapt to climate change.
His national security adviser used the proposals to throw down a challenge to other nations.
‘So the US is stepping up to do its part key,’ said Jake Sullivan aboard Air Force One en route to Edinburgh.
‘US allies Japan, Korea, the European Union, Canada, others are stepping up to do their part.
‘And now the question is: Will some of the remaining countries step up to do theirs?’
President Biden’s motorcade burned through the Central Belt of Scotland from Edinburgh Airport to Glasgow on Monday
It comprised more than 20 vehicles – plus police outriders – but was modest compared with the 85 vehicles he used in Rome
Biden’s six-day trip to Europe will release an estimated two million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
President Biden touched down at Edinburgh Airport on Monday morning ahead of arriving at the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, after making the short hop from Rome, Italy
Air Force landed in Scotland on Monday morning. Biden has been criticized for the amount of carbon emitted by his fleet of aircraft and cars during his Europe trip
Environmental campaigners with ‘big heads’ of key world leaders, including Biden, dressed in kilts gathered in Glasgow, marking the start of the Cop26 summit in the city on Monday
Biden arrived from a G20 summit in Rome where he touted the power of America ‘showing up.’
‘What we’ve seen again here in Rome is what I think is the power of America showing up and working with our allies and partners to make progress in issues that matter to all of us,’ he said, adding that allies wanted ‘American leadership’ to get things done.
He claimed other leaders sought him out as he fended off a question about whether he could provide leadership amid falling poll numbers at home.
‘The United States of America is the most critical part of this entire agenda, and we did it,’ Biden said.
However, skeptics say few concrete measures were agreed on how to keep the world to temperature rises of less than 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels – a target set at the Paris climate summit in 2015.
And Biden lost key clean energy pledges from his Build Back Better agenda in recent weeks as the price for winning over opponents in his own party to its huge $3.5 trillion cost.
The Supreme Court could yet strip his administration of more powers to limit emissions.
Then there is the awkward matter of his travel arrangements.
His trip to Europe is estimated to release 2.2 million pounds of carbon.
The gigantic carbon footprint is comprised of 2.16 million pounds of carbon dioxide generated by the four large planes that comprise his airborne entourage on the trip to Italy and Scotland, where the president will speak at the COP26 summit on change in Glasgow, with the remainder emitted by Biden’s cars.
His fleet is comprised of the heavily modified Boeing 747 he travels on, known as Air Force One when the president is on board, an identical decoy, and two huge C-17 Globemaster planes to carry his battalion of cars and helicopters.
But expect to hear more about American leadership, Biden’s climate adviser Gina McCarthy told reporters.
‘This is a message you’re going to see from the president over the next two days and from dozens of cabinet officials who will be in Glasgow over the next two weeks: the United States is back at the table, we’re back, hoping to rally the world to tackle the climate crisis,’ he said.
She said the U.S. would release a plan to show it can half U.S. carbon emissions by 2023 from 2005 levels en route to its net-zero target by 2050.
Biden addressed a press conference at the end of the G20 summit in Rome. He talked about climate change and his domestic legislative agenda but things took a deeply personal turn when he was asked about his meeting with the pope on Friday
US President Joe Biden speaks at the beginning of a meeting about the global supply chain, during the G20 Summit at the Roma Convention Center
‘It illustrates how, within three decades, the U.S. can meet our global climate commitments by decarbonizing the power sector, electrifying transportation and buildings, transforming industry, reducing non-CO2 emissions, and reinvigorating our natural lands,” she said.
Special climate envoy John Kerry also pushed back on criticism that COP 26 was getting off to a lackluster start, with only modest action on the 1.5C target in Rome.
He said nations representing 65 percent of the world’s GDP were committed to the effort.
‘Obviously, if you have 65% in, you got 35% out, and that’s the challenge coming out of Glasgow,’ he said.
‘Can those countries step up? How fast will they step up? What will they pledge to do over the course of the next years?’
Summit host Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, lambasted G20 leaders on Sunday, saying only 12 of 20 had promised concrete action on hitting net zero emissions by 2050.
‘Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change,’ he is expected to say during Monday’s opening session, according to speech excerpts released by his office.
‘It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now.’