Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is among 40 world leaders invited to a virtual summit on climate to be hosted by US President Joe Biden.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the Hihiaua Centre in Whangārei on 5 February, 2021Jacinda Ardern will be among leaders asked to share their countries climate plans, when a climate summit happens later this month. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The Leaders Summit on Climate on 22-23 April will underscore the urgency – and the economic benefits – of stronger climate action, the White House said in a statement.

The US regards the event as a forerunner to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow in November.

The virtual meeting will be live-streamed for public viewing.

It reconvenes the US-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which brings together 17 countries responsible for about 80 percent of global emissions and global GDP.

On his first day in office Biden reversed the policy of the previous president, Donald Trump, and returned the US to the Paris Agreement. Days later, on January 27, he announced that he would soon convene a leaders summit to galvanise efforts by the major economies to tackle the climate crisis.


US President Joe Biden signs three documents including an Inauguration declaration, cabinet nominations and sub-cabinet noinations in the Presidents Room at the US Capitol after being sworn-in as the 46th president of the United States on January 20, 2021. Joe Biden at work in the Oval Office for the first time in January. Photo: AFP

The White House statement said the Leaders Summit and COP26 will focus on efforts to limit global warming to 1.5-degree Celsius.

The summit will also look at innovative technologies to help mitigate against the impact of climate change and help for vulnerable countries that will be the most affected.

During the summit Biden plans to announce an ambitious 2030 emissions target for the US and has invited other leaders to outline their countries’ climate ambitions.

China’s President Xi Jinping, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin are among other leaders invited to take part.

Key themes on the agenda will include:

  • Mobilising public and private sector finance to drive the net-zero transition and to help vulnerable countries cope with climate impacts
  • Discussing the economic benefits of climate action, with a strong emphasis on job creation, and the importance of ensuring all communities and workers benefit from the transition to a new clean energy economy
  • Looking at transformational technologies that can help reduce emissions and adapt to climate change, while also creating new economic opportunities and building the industries of the future
  • Showcasing agencies and individuals from outside governments that are committed to green recovery and an equitable vision for limiting warming to 1.5 degree Celsius, and are working closely with national governments to advance ambition and resilience
  • Discussing opportunities to strengthen capacity to protect lives and livelihoods from the impacts of climate change and address the role of nature-based solutions in achieving net zero by 2050 goals.