Joe Biden caught 'taking micro nap' as he listens to COP26 speeches

1 November 2021, 16:38 | Updated: 2 November 2021, 05:22

Joe Biden was filmed shutting his eyes during a COP26 speech
Joe Biden was filmed shutting his eyes during a COP26 speech. Picture: Zach Purser Brown/@zachjourno/Washington Post

By Will Taylor

Joe Biden has been filmed apparently resting his eyes as delegates spoke at the opening of COP26.

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He was seen with his arms folded as he closes his eyes repeatedly, before finally shutting them for around 20 seconds.

A man then comes over to speak with him before the 78-year-old leader reopens his eyes, replies, then decides to sit forward and applaud the end of a speech.

"Biden appears to fall asleep during COP26 opening speeches," the Washington Post's Zach Purser Brown said, publishing the footage earlier.

The video will be gold dust to his critics, who have questioned his preparedness for the rigours of the presidency given his age.

He was referred to derisively by his predecessor, Donald Trump, as "Sleepy Joe" – among a raft of other names he would use for his political enemies.

Scores of Twitter users took the opportunity to criticise the president, with many using Mr Trump's insult.

During the presidential election campaign, Mr Biden released his medical records, which showed he was in good health – something that was attributed to his decision not to smoke or drink and instead work out for at least five days a week.

Read more: PM lists three cities that could be lost if no climate action is taken

Read more: Humanity is already in trouble, Sir David Attenborough warns world leaders at COP26

It comes at the start of crucial UN climate talks in Glasgow, in which it is hoped world leaders will iron out agreements that will keep the world's temperature rise to 1.5C.

Key British figures, including Boris Johnson, Prince Charles and David Attenborough, spent Monday trying to convince countries to act.

In a dramatic warning, Mr Johnson said a rise of four degrees would see major population centres get claimed by rising sea levels.

"Four degrees and we say goodbye to whole cities, Miami, Alexandria, Shanghai, all lost beneath the waves," he said.

"The longer we fail to act and the worse it gets and the higher the price when we are forced by catastrophe to act."

Mr Biden said in his own speech: "Let this be the moment when we answer history's call, here in Glasgow.

"Let this be the start of a decade of transformative action that preserves our planet and raises the quality of life for people everywhere.

"We can do this, we just have to make a choice to do it. So, let's get to work."