Why aren’t China and Russia at COP26?

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THE COP26 climate change conference is underway but certain countries are noticeable by the absence.
Major polluters including China and Russia have made it clear they had no immediate intention of following the US and Britain as well as European and Asian allies to zero out all fossil fuel pollution by 2050.
2China’s President Xi Jinping, left, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during talks in the Kremlin in 2019Credit: Alamy Live News
China
China is the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will not be attending the summit but senior officials will be there.
Xi will address the conference on Monday via a written statement, according to an official schedule.
According to the list of speakers released by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Xi is the only leader to address the “First Part of the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government” in a written statement.
In updated pledges, China confirmed to the United Nations last week that it would bring its emissions to a peak before 2030 and cut them to “net zero” by 2060.
It also promised to raise total wind and solar power generation capacity to 1,200 gigawatts by 2030 in order to reach its goals.
2Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the COP26 summit in GlasgowCredit: AP
Russia
Russia said President Vladimir Putin would not be attending COP26 in October.
No reason was given for the decision not to attend,
A Kremlin spokesperson said climate change was an “important” priority for Russia.
“Unfortunately, Putin will not fly to Glasgow,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters at the time, saying climate change was “one of our foreign policy’s most important priorities”.
Speaking at an international energy forum in Moscow on October 13, Putin said the coronavirus pandemic would be a factor in his decision to travel.
Russia approved a long-term government climate strategy today targeting carbon neutrality by 2060.
Putin, the leader of the world’s number 4 greenhouse gas emitter, plans to deliver a recorded message at the Glasgow talks, the Kremlin’s spokesman said.
Russia will start implementing green projects next year including ones aimed at carbon capture, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin told a government meeting.
Turkey
President Tayyip Erdogan cancelled plans to attend the global climate conference in Glasgow on Monday because Britain failed to meet Turkey’s demands on security arrangements, Turkish media quoted him as saying.
Erdogan had been expected to join them in Scotland after attending the G20 summit in Rome at the weekend, but instead landed back in Turkey shortly after midnight on Monday.
Turkish media quoted him as telling reporters on his plane home that Ankara had made demands regarding security protocol standards for the summit in Britain which were not satisfied.
“When our demands were not met we decided not to go to Glasgow,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.
He said that the protocol standards Ankara sought were those always implemented on his international trips.
Erdogan said he subsequently learnt that the measures Turkey had sought were granted as an exception to another country, which he did not name. He said this was unacceptable. “We are obliged to protect the dignity of our nation,” he said.
A spokesperson for the British government’s COP26 office declined to comment on security matters.
Scotland police said they do not comment on VIP security.
A senior Turkish official earlier told Reuters that British authorities had not met Turkey’s requests over security.
“The president took such a decision because our demands regarding the number of vehicles for security and some other security-related demands were not fully met,” the official said.
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