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World

Earth Day summit a chance for Biden to show US serious about climate: Trudeau

  • "I know that Canada and developed countries like us around the world are very interested in ensuring that we're competing with China successfully on new technologies," Trudeau said.
Published April 18, 2021

OTTAWA: President Joe Biden must show he is serious and committed about US re-engagement on climate change, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an interview with AFP ahead of a virtual climate summit opening this week.

Highlighting Washington's return to the front lines of the fight against man-made climate change, the two-day summit starting Thursday will be the first big event on the environment of his presidency, and comes ahead of two other major climate meetings later in the year.

"The commitment that the US has shown after a few years away from the climate table is something that people will be looking to ensure that it is serious, that it is committed," Trudeau told AFP.

"There's no question that we need a country of the scale of the United States to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, if we're going to make it as a planet," he said.

Another big polluter, China, was invited to the summit, but hasn't formally accepted yet.

China, now the world's second-largest economy, and the West have grown increasing at odds over a wide array of issues, from trade and intellectual property to Beijing's crackdown on Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

On Friday, as Trudeau was speaking to AFP, US climate envoy John Kerry visited China, signalling hopes the two sides could work together on climate.

Trudeau acknowledged that China has shown it is "taking seriously the need to reduce their pollution," noting its massive investments, for example, in solar power, electric vehicles and battery technologies.

The West, he said, must step up or risk falling behind.

"I know that Canada and developed countries like us around the world are very interested in ensuring that we're competing with China successfully on new technologies," Trudeau said.

"I'm not going to let China take all the innovations and all the economic growth that's going to come from going greener," he said.

"There are lots of areas in which we disagree with China, but if we can all create a similar momentum on an issue that touches every corner of this planet, then I think that's a good thing."

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