Biden says China has made ‘big mistake’ by not attending Cop26: ‘It’s a gigantic issue and they’ve walked away’

Joe Biden says that China has made a “big mistake” by not attending Cop26.

The US President struck an optimistic tone from his two days in Glasgow but said he was still worried about the climate crisis and there was more work to do.

He criticised China for its absence, saying they wanted to be world leaders but were ‘walking away’ on the issue.

Speaking to the press before leaving the climate conference, the president said: “It’s a gigantic issue and they’ve walked away.”

“The fact China [is] trying to assert, understandably, a new role in the world as a world leader, not showing up, come on!” President Biden added.

“The rest of the world is going to look to China and say what value added are they providing and they’ve lost in building influence people around the world and all the people here at Cop,” he said.

The president noted that by showing up the US has made “a profound impact on the way the rest of the world is looking at the United States in its leadership role.”

On Russia, he said President Vladimir Putin was facing major climate issues — pointing out the tundra was quite literally on fire — but said he was ‘mum’ on the crisis.

When asked why the US should commit to contributing funding to combat the climate crisis, if Russia, China, and India will not, Mr Biden said: “Because we want to be able to breathe. And we want to lead the world.”

The president noted that the climate crisis presented “a gigantic opportunity” to improve economies and that most world leaders know that.

“They know that growth rests in dealing with the economy in a way that affects the whole notion of what we’re going to do about climate change,” he said.

Also present in the room were John Kerry, Mr Biden’s special envoy for climate, and Antony Blinken, secretary of state.

The president says that he believed “we got a lot done”, that there were “a lot of substantive meetings”, and that it was “critically important for the United States to be here”.

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