Obama criticised the Chinese and Russian presidents for not joining other global leaders at the climate talks in Glasgow.

Obama said efforts by the United States stalled when Trump pulled out of the climate accord.
Obama said efforts by the United States stalled when Trump pulled out of the climate accord. (Reuters)

Barack Obama has expressed confidence at UN climate talks that the Biden administration will ultimately get its $555 billion climate package through Congress, and faulted US rivals China and Russia for what he called a “dangerous lack of urgency” in cutting their own climate-wrecking emissions and not joining the climate talks in Glasgow.

“When it comes to climate, time really is running out,” Obama told climate advocates. Though there has been progress since the historic 2015 Paris climate agreement “we are nowhere near where we need to be.”

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“It was particularly discouraging to see the leaders of two of the world’s largest emitters, China and Russia, decline to even attend the proceedings, and their national plans reflect what appears to be a dangerous lack of urgency,” Obama said.

His comments came as conference leaders acknowledged on Monday that many key sticking points exist after a week of talks. 

A trust gap between rich and poor nations on climate change issues emerged when the negotiations went through a check of what's been accomplished and what's left to be done. 

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Developing countries used versions of the word “disappointing” five times when leaders talked about the progress to date on Monday.

The UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, is the former American president's first since he helped deliver the triumph of the 2015 Paris climate accord, when nations committed to cutting fossil fuel and agricultural emissions fast enough to keep the Earth's warming below catastrophic levels of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

That celebration has faded and been replaced by worry. 

Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Paris accord. 

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President Joe Biden put America back in as soon as he took office this year but US efforts at fighting climate change were set back years by the Trump move.

'The US is back and bold'

Obama's appearance on the sidelines of the talks sought to remind governments of the elation that surrounded the Paris accord, and urge them to announce more immediate, concrete steps to put the 2015 deal into action.

“The US is back and is moving more boldly. The US is not alone,” Obama said.

Obama noted efforts by the United States, the world's second-worst climate polluter now after China, stalled when Trump pulled out of the climate accord.

“There are times where I feel discouraged. There are times where the future seems somewhat bleak. There are times where I am doubtful that humanity can get its act together before it’s too late,” Obama said. 

“We can’t afford hopelessness,” he added.

Despite opposition within Biden's own Democratic party that has blocked the climate-fighting legislation, Obama said he was confident that some version of Biden's ambitious climate bill will pass in Congress in the next few weeks.

READ MORE: Biden to assure world leaders that US can meet climate pledges

Source: AP