Climate summit: Awkward moment a baffled Putin sits in silence amid technical glitches affecting global leaders’ video calls

WASHINGTON (Dailymail): Russian President Vladimir Putin endured an awkward moment during Thursday’s climate summit after he was left sitting in confused silence following a technical glitch.

Putin was left looking bewildered as he was introduced while France’s President Macron was still talking and ended up sitting silently on screen, oblivious to the fact he was on air.

Moderators had quickly scrambled to cut off Macron and move onto Putin when they realised there was no translation for the President, who was speaking in French.

A few moments later the summit was back on track as Putin was introduced again and began his speech.

‘It is no secret that the conditions that facilitated global warming go way back. But what kind of comprehensive solutions can we see today?’, he told fellow world leaders.

‘It’s not enough to tackle the issue of new emissions, it is also important to take up the task of absorbing the CO2 that is already in the atmosphere’.

A few moments later the summit was back on track as Putin launched into his speech. ‘It is no secret that the conditions that facilitated global warming go way back. But what kind of comprehensive solutions can we see today?’, he told fellow world leaders   +15

A few moments later the summit was back on track as Putin launched into his speech. ‘It is no secret that the conditions that facilitated global warming go way back. But what kind of comprehensive solutions can we see today?’, he told fellow world leaders

President Joe Biden issued a call to action to world leaders on Thursday, asking them to work together to keep the earth’s temperature from rising too high in the next decade, arguing it would result in new jobs and economic opportunities.

‘The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. The cost of inaction is mounting,’ he said in his speech kicking off his Climate Summit.

‘This is a moral imperative, an economic imperative,’ Biden argued. ‘Time is short, but I believe we can do this. And I believe that we will do. Thank you for being part of the summit.’

In his remarks, Biden stressed the importance of working together but also emphasised combatting climate change can create jobs and boost economies.

The East Room of the White House was decorated in greenery for the climate summit and Biden was introduced by Vice-President Kamala Harris

He spoke from the East Room of the White House, which was camera-ready for the virtual summit, decorated with plants and greenery.

Vice President Kamala Harris introduced him and he was joined by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and climate czar John Kerry.

Biden vowed the US would do its part, pledging the country will cut emissions blamed for climate change by 50 to 52 per cent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels and to set America on a path of zero emissions economy by no later than 2015.

‘No nation can solve this crisis on our own, as I know you all fully understand all of us, all of us and particularly those of us who represent the world’s largest economies. We have to step up,’ he said.

Biden argued taking action now would ‘set the world up for success, protect livelihoods around the world and keep global warming at a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius. We must get on the path now, in order to do that.’

‘If we do will breathe easier, literally, and figuratively,’ he said. ‘We’ll create good jobs here at home for millions of Americans and lay a strong foundation with growth in the future.’

His summit kicked off with a slick video about planet earth, where astronauts like Neil Armstrong talk about seeing it from space and how it suffers from global warming.

There were a few technical glitches – Harris’ audio had an echo when she spoke, making it difficult to decipher her remarks, and there were dial tones when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke.

All 40 world leaders invited by the White House were in attendance on Thursday.

But there will be no one-on-one conversations taking place on the sidelines after the US slapped additional sanctions on Russia and Biden has vowed to take on China.

There will be ‘no bilaterals or side zoom rooms that are happening,’ a senior administration official told reporters on a call Wednesday.

The meeting marks Biden’s first face-to-face meetings with the two leaders – whom he has spoken to on the phone – since he took office. 

The leaders, in their remarks, kept their focus on the topic at hand and reiterated their own country’s goals to combat climate change.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Wednesday the UK would cut emissions by 78 per cent by 2035.

‘It’s vital for all of us to show that this is not all about some expensive, politically correct green act of bunny hugging… This is about growth and jobs,’ he told the summit.  

The State Department released a full schedule of the summit, which will take place virtually Thursday and Friday.

In addition to the president and world leaders, several Cabinet secretaries and business leaders will attend.

Speakers include Pope Francis, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, World Bank President David Malpas, and Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser.

With the summit, Biden is seeking to revive a US-convened forum of the world’s major economies on climate that George W. Bush and Barack Obama both used and Donald Trump let languish. 

The new US target on emissions aims to ‘challenge the world on increasing ambition and combatting the climate crisis,’ an administration official said on a briefing call with reporters.

Combined with announcements expected by other leaders, the official said the world will be closer – but not yet on track – to keeping the planet’s temperature within 2.7 Fahrenheit above pre-industrial times, the level scientists say is needed to avoid the most severe effects of climate change.

‘Over half the world’s economy is now moving to cut emissions at a global pace needed to keep 1.5 C in reach,’ the official said. ‘Our coalition is growing.’

Japan said Thursday it aims to cut emissions 46 percent by 2030 — significantly more than previously pledged — and Canada is expected to follow suit. Both countries have forged early bonds with Biden.

Biden’s action raises the pressure on China – by far the world’s largest carbon emitter.

In his remarks to the summit, Chin’s President Xi Jinping reiterated his country’s pledge to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

‘We must be committed to green development. To improve the environment is to boost productivity,’ he said.

Xi said developed countries, responsible for greater historical carbon emissions, should bear more responsibility for making changes at home and helping developing countries finance their transition to low-carbon economies.

Xi emphasised that China is aiming to move from peak carbon to net zero in a short time period – just 30 years, or the span of one generation.

And Japan, a heavy user of coal, announced its own new 46% emissions reduction target.

In his remarks, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said the world is ‘at the verge of the abyss’ because of climate change and must take aggressive steps to avoid catastrophe.

He called for world leaders to build a global coalition for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – ‘every country, every region, every city, every company and every industry.’

Britain in November will host a UN conference in Glasgow that aims to upgrade the 2015 Paris Agreement. 

A UN report late last year said that the world was on course for warming of three degrees Celsius — a level at which the planet is forecast to see many glaciers and ice caps melt, low-lying areas submerged and increasingly severe droughts, floods and disasters that could trigger famine and mass migration.