Xi and Modi Will Skip UN Climate Summit
September 7, 2014 • 10:43AM

Disappointing the greenies and their British Empire patrons, Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have informed UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon that they would not attend the UN climate shindig to be held in New York on September 23. Their absence undercuts the summit, although it may not be fatal for negotiations set to wrap up by the end of 2015. The UN meeting on Sept. 23 is not a negotiating session but a gathering of world leaders, business executives, and environmentalists to discuss ways to combat global warming and how to mitigate its purported impact. The meeting includes three concurrent sessions in the morning, at which leaders are to make "national action & ambition announcements," according to the schedule.

Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, declined to comment on the decision by Xi not to attend, which was previously reported by the online publication China Dialogue, and said he couldn't comment on whether the move would affect U.S. President Barack Obama's plans to attend. According to the Guardian, Modi's decision not to attend is related to alleged attempts by industrialized countries to woo the Philippines away from the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) group. Other members of the group include India, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, Nicaragua, and Saudi Arabia. New Delhi noted this and objected. During last year's UN climate summit in Warsaw, Philippines took a leading position in this group by pressuring industrialized countries to live up to their commitments to mitigate emissions and help poorer nations tackle climate-change effects. This position was strengthened, because that summit was held in the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated large areas in the Philippines.

In addition, at a negotiating session of the UN's climate secretariat this June, on behalf of LMDC, the Venezuelan delegation submitted a draft of what the global climate deal should contain, a draft that was promptly opposed by negotiators from many industrialized countries. Indian negotiators now say they are waiting to see the draft being prepared by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat. They want this ready before the next UNFCCC summit, scheduled for Lima this December, so that every government has a year to negotiate before the 2015 deadline. Meanwhile, to the utter chagrin of New Delhi, it was reported that the French government is preparing its own, secret draft for the 2015 summit, which will be held in Paris — just the kind of activity that led to a fiasco at the 2009 summit in Copenhagen. Negotiators from most developing countries are keen to see a public draft months before the deadline.