The entire world is set to huddle in Glasgow next week and hash out how to protect the climate. In years past, world leaders have attended the tail end of United Nations climate talks.
But this year, they’re slated to attend at the start of the negotiations to set the stage for (hopefully) more ambitious discussions. The UK government is hosting the meeting, and Alok Sharma, the politician tasked with leading them, boasted at a press conference this week that 120 world leaders are showing up for the kickoff summit.
“I’m very pleased that despite the fact that we still have COVID with us, we have got over 120 world leaders who will be coming to Glasgow physically, and I’m very grateful to them,” he said.
Their ranks include President Joe Biden, which represents a sea change from the Trump years. The heads of state from South Korea, Switzerland, France, Australia, India, and countless other countries will also be in physical attendance. Other dignitaries such are set to attend, a group that included the Queen herself before her doctors put the kibosh on it. That’s no small feat, with the UK trumpeting that the talks, known as COP26, will be “the largest political gathering that the UK has ever hosted.”
But there are some leaders who won’t be showing up. Whether it’s because they have better things to do than pledging to not burn the planet to a crisp or don’t want to attend IRL, a few big players will be staying home. They do these meetings every year, amirite? Let’s meet a few of the world leaders who couldn’t squeeze the most consequential international talks at the start of the most consequential decade in human history onto their calendars.