US President Joe Biden will not attend the upcoming UN climate summit, COP28, in Dubai, breaking a two-year streak of US participation in the talks.
The decision comes amidst domestic and regional priorities, including the Israel-Hamas conflict and Biden’s focus on his domestic agenda.
COP28 Anticipates Record Attendance:
COP28 is expected to be one of the largest UN climate summits, with approximately 70,000 attendees, including world leaders and Pope Francis.
The absence of President Biden is notable, as previous attendance aimed to underscore US commitment to climate leadership.
The White House released schedules for President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, revealing that neither leader will be heading to Dubai this week. Biden’s engagements include:
- A trip to Colorado to highlight US investment in wind energy.
- A meeting with the president of Angola.
- Participation in the lighting of the national Christmas tree.
John Kerry Leads US Negotiations:
US climate envoy John Kerry, former secretary of state and senator, will lead day-to-day negotiations at COP28.
While Biden’s absence raises questions, Kerry underscores the US commitment to climate discussions. The Biden administration is considering sending a top-level official to Dubai.
While reasons for Biden’s decision were not explicitly provided, his recent focus on the Israel-Hamas conflict and the need to emphasize his domestic agenda in the lead-up to the US presidential election may be influencing factors.
Biden’s Climate Commitments and Prior Attendance:
President Biden attended COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, pledging renewed US leadership on climate after his predecessor, Donald Trump, withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord.
Despite the absence of the US president, the Biden administration remains committed to addressing climate issues on a global scale.
US climate envoy John Kerry engaged in extensive talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, ahead of COP28. Both negotiators pledged collaboration between the two largest greenhouse gas emitters for progress at the Dubai summit.
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