What to Watch For At COP26 on Monday and Tuesday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was first to welcome leaders, who will then lay out “concrete actions and credible plans.” David Attenborough and Prince Charles are also speaking.,


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What to watch for on Monday at COP26.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain arriving for COP26 in Glasgow on Monday.Credit…Pool photo by Phil Noble

By Andres R. Martinez and Ethan Hauser

Nov. 1, 2021Updated 9:15 a.m. ET

The next two days of the United Nations-led climate talks in Glasgow will be an opportunity to hear from nearly 100 heads of state and governments on what steps they plan to take to tackle climate change.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain was one of the first speakers, welcoming the more than 100 guests to the World Leaders Summit, followed by the United Nations secretary general, Antonio Guterres. Other dignitaries, including Prince Charles, and David Attenborough, the nature documentarian, are also delivering addresses. Standard fare for conferences, there was a cultural performance.

In the afternoon, the leaders are giving brief speeches that lay out “concrete actions and credible plans” through Tuesday, organizers said. The presidents and prime ministers will then have time to break off into one-on-one meetings.

The focus will be on what the leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations, known as the Group of 20, will say. On Sunday, they wrapped up a meeting in Rome, agreeing on language that they hoped would frame the talks in Glasgow. The speeches will be opportunities for them to outline real-world actions.

The speakers list includes President Biden, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy and President Narendra Modi of India. Of note, President Xi Jinping of China will not appear in person.

The speeches are a preamble to the nuts-and-bolt negotiations that diplomats and climate experts will engage in during the next two weeks, in the hope of making progress on an overall plan to confront climate change.

COP stands for Conference of the Parties, with “parties” referring, in diplomatic parlance, to the 197 nations that agreed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992. This is the 26th time countries have gathered under the convention — hence COP26.

Shortly before traveling to the summit, Mr. Biden, who was also scheduled to make a statement on Monday, said that he would “be there with bells on.”

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