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Biden, Australian PM Albanese sign clean energy, climate change pact

U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese signed Saturday's climate change and clean energy pact on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan. Photo courtesy of Australian PM Press Office
1 of 4 | U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese signed Saturday's climate change and clean energy pact on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan. Photo courtesy of Australian PM Press Office | License Photo

May 20 (UPI) -- U.S. President joe Biden on Saturday signed a formal agreement with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to collaborate on advancing clean energy and combat climate change.

The pair inked the deal on the sidelines of the annual Group of Seven Summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

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"This compact and statement of intent are a testament to our close bilateral cooperation. And I mean that: close," Biden said as the two leaders signed the document. "We're going to establish climate and clean energy as the third pillar of the Australia-U.S. alliance."

The agreement, he said, "is going to enable the expansion of and diversification of clean energy supply chains, especially as it relates to critical materials."

The new joint initiative is meant to accelerate a transition to clean energy, "including by building more resilient critical mineral supply chains," the U.S. leader said. "This is a huge step, from our perspective -- a huge step forward in our fight against the climate crisis."

The G7 meeting came in lieu of a trip to Sydney that Biden had originally planned but was later forced to cancel due to the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations with Republican lawmakers in Washington. The president apologized for that decision at while meeting with Albanese, who joined him in hailing the new compact as a new key feature of the U.S.-Australian alliance.

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"Today what we've done is add a new element to that alliance, upfront, very clearly, unequivocally, climate action," he said while also thanking Japan for facilitating the meeting at summit in Hiroshima.

"Australia is back around the table, and what we know is that action on climate change...is the entry-fee to credibility in the Indo-Pacific," the prime minister said. "Many of our neighbors understand that climate change is an existential threat."

Albanese is expected to attend a state dinner in Washington later this year.

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