WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will highlight strides the United States has made on climate change when he addresses a major U.N. climate summit next week, senior administration officials said on Thursday.
About 120 heads of state and government, in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, are expected to attend the summit on Tuesday hosted by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The summit, an effort to move global leaders closer to an ambitious climate deal due to be finalized next year, will allow the United States “to showcase actions we are taking across the government and across the country,” said John Podesta, a senior Obama adviser.
Podesta said that although the leaders of China and India, the major emerging economies, will skip the summit Obama has bilateral meetings with them scheduled for November and late September, respectively.
Ahead of the meeting, the White House this week unveiled new executive actions and public-private partnerships with major companies to boost the use of renewable energy and target potent greenhouse gases.
Administration officials, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, will fan out across the country in a “full-court press” next week to highlight U.S. moves on climate, Podesta said.
Reversing the impacts of climate change has become a legacy issue for Obama, who has struggled to make headway on foreign and domestic policy goals since his re-election in 2012. A series of executive actions and other moves has followed.
The Obama administration’s renewed focus on the issue has started to change the international perception of the United States’ role, said State Department climate change Special Envoy Todd Stern.
“There is no question the United States is in stronger standing,” Stern told reporters.
Earlier on Thursday, the State Department submitted to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change its vision of what a post-2020 global climate agreement should look like.
Details were not immediately available, but the State Department said it will submit the proposed U.S. contribution to the global climate deal by March.
Reporting by Valerie Volcovici, editing by Ros Krasny and Tom Brown