China says Xi to speak at G20 summit via video link

With two high-stakes climate talks scheduled for the weekend, all eyes were on China after President Xi Jinping said Friday he would not be attending either the G20 summit or the UN's COP26 in person.

Beijing however said that he would be making a speech via video link in front of the G20.

Leaders of the world's 20 richest economies are expected to meet this weekend in Rome, their first face-to-face meeting in two years.

A draft communique seen by Reuters showed they'll be announcing plans to ramp up efforts to curb global warming.

The G20 accounts for 80% of the world's carbon emissions, with China easily at the top of that list.

That means world climate goals largely depend on its actions in the near-future.

Xi has not left China since the global health crisis began, but analysts say his absence at both talks could indicate Beijing had no more concessions to offer, after major pledges last year.

Among those, Xi said China planned for an emissions peak in 2030 while promising to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

Climate experts say that's ten years too late - if the world wants to meet its warming limit of 1.5 degrees by mid-century.

And with lingering concerns over the ongoing health crisis, Xi isn't the only one who won't be attending the G20 talks in person.

Key leaders in the G20 like Russia's Vladimir Putin and Japan's Fumio Kishida have also said they would not be spotted in Rome.

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