Biden 'falls asleep' at COP26 - but Twitter sympathises with US president

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It appears Joe Biden got a bit of shut eye during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, however some people have rushed to his defence.

Video from the conference seemingly shows the US President shut his eyes, before opening them numerous times throughout the conference.

At one point in the video shared to Twitter by Zach Purser Brown from the Washington Post, Biden has his eyes closed for about 20 seconds before someone approaches him and speaks to him.

US President Joe Biden managed to shut his eyes for a bit during the COP26. Source: Twitter/@zachjourno
US President Joe Biden managed to shut his eyes for a bit during the COP26. Source: Twitter/@zachjourno

After their brief conversation, Biden applauds the speaker and rubs his eyes.

While some weren't convinced the president actually fell asleep, some had sympathy for him.

"I have extensive knowledge re: watching old men fall asleep during church," someone said on Twitter in response to the video. 

"This ain’t that. I’d bet everything he was just closing his eyes so he can listen better w/out distraction."

"Gee. 78 years old, spending hours everyday in boring meetings. Probably not much sleep, a time difference, etc…. How dare someone doze off?" someone said on Twitter. 

"I’m sure everyone has fallen asleep at least once during a class or large meeting."

Others however claimed Biden should have been alert during the conference and said the video suggested he was not up to the job.

Biden wasn't the only world leader being accused of nodding off. 

It appears UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson managed to shut his eyes during the opening ceremony of the COP26, while sitting between Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres and Sir David Attenborough.

Secretary-General of the United Nations Antanio Guterres, British prime Minister Boris Johnson and Sir David Attenborough attend the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 at SECC on November 1, 2021 in Glasgow,
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson seemingly fell asleep during the COP26 Summit. Source: Getty Images

Leaders speak of horrifying reality of climate change

World leaders have turned up the heat and resorted to end-of-the-world rhetoric in an attempt to bring new urgency to sputtering international climate negotiations.

The metaphors were dramatic and mixed at the start of the UN climate talks, known as COP26.  

Boris Johnson described global warming as "a doomsday device" strapped to humanity. 

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told his colleagues that humans were "digging our own graves", while Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, speaking for vulnerable island nations, warning leaders not to "allow the path of greed and selfishness to sow the seeds of our common destruction".

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel avoided soaring rhetoric and delved into policy.

US President Joe Biden presents his national statement as part of the World Leaders' Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on November 1, 2021.
US President Joe Biden took responsibility for the his country's responsibility for climate change. Source: AFP via Getty Images

"There's no more time to sit back," Biden said in a more measured warning that also apologised for his predecessor's decision to temporarily pull the US out of the historic 2015 Paris agreement, something he said put the country behind in its efforts. 

"Every day we delay, the cost of inaction increases."

Biden also acknowledged at a UN summit that the US and other energy-gulping developed nations bear much of the responsibility for climate change, 

He said actions taken this decade to contain global warming will be decisive in preventing future generations from suffering.

"None of us can escape the worst that is yet to come if we fail to seize this moment," Biden declared at the COP26 gathering on Monday.

With Associated Press

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