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Greening the “Special Relationship”

Joe Biden's arrival in the White House, and the United Kingdom's role as host of this year's United Nations climate summit, gives the Anglo-Saxon world a unique opportunity to demonstrate climate leadership in 2021. But both countries will have to back words with action – and money.

WASHINGTON, DC – COP26, the United Nations climate summit being held this November in Glasgow, is already looming large in US and UK policymaking circles. For UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the summit is a major opportunity to demonstrate what a post-Brexit “Global Britain” can do. And for US President Joe Biden, it is an early test of his administration’s ability to uphold its climate leadership promises, both at home and abroad.

The stakes could not be higher. In 2021 alone, world leaders will gather at least seven times to address global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, its economic fallout, climate change, food systems, and biodiversity loss. In all of these discussions, the central question is how to reorient our economies and societies to protect one another and the planet.

Although Winston Churchill’s bust is no longer on display in the Oval Office, cooperation with the United States remains as important as ever. Joint leadership will be necessary to achieve the system-reset that the current moment demands.

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