President Biden called out Chinese President Xi Jinping for not attending the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, saying it was a "big mistake."
Dozens of leaders from around the world participated in the event, and several major announcements have been made, including more than 100 countries committing to ending deforestation by 2030 and others reducing their overall methane emissions. This is "a great example of the kind of ambition you need" to fight global warming, Biden said, and he can't "think of any two days where more has been accomplished on climate than these two days."
China is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gas, and the country's absence was glaring, Biden said. "We showed up, and by showing up, we've had a profound impact on the way, I think, the rest of the world is looking at the United States and its leadership role," he told reporters. "I think it's been a big mistake, quite frankly, for China not showing up. The rest of the world is going to look at China and say, 'What value added are they providing?' And they've lost the ability to influence people around the world and all the people here at COP."
Xi sent a written statement to the summit, which did not include any plans to take action against climate change.