COP: Obama hits China, Russia for lack of urgency

Former US President Barack Obama has criticized China and Russia for what he calls a "lack of urgency" in tackling global warming.

Obama delivered a speech on Monday at the UN climate conference, COP26, now underway in Glasgow, Britain. The leaders of China and Russia are not attending the conference.

Obama said, "it was particularly discouraging to see the leaders of two of the world's largest emitters, China and Russia, declined to even attend the proceedings."

He said, "their national plans so far reflect what appears to be a dangerous lack of urgency, a willingness to maintain the status quo on the part of those governments. And that's a shame."

Obama stressed that the world cannot afford anybody on the sidelines.

Looking back on the past years, he said that some of progress in the United States stalled when his successor, Donald Trump, decided to unilaterally pull out of the Paris Agreement in his first year in office.

Obama said, "now with President Biden and his administration rejoining the agreement, the US government is once again engaged and prepared to take a leadership role."

He added that as the world's second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the US has enormous responsibilities.

Obama expressed his support for efforts by young activists tackling climate change through demonstrations by saying, "the most important energy in this movement is coming from young people."