President Biden will not attend the upcoming United Nations climate summit, COP28, set to begin in Dubai this Thursday, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
This decision comes as a notable shift, especially after Biden recently described climate change as “the ultimate threat to humanity.”
White House confirms President Biden’s absence from major global summit
The summit, which will see participation from leaders of nearly 200 countries, will occur without the presence of the U.S. President, as confirmed by a White House official to the New York Times.
The official, preferring anonymity, did not specify the reasons for President Biden’s absence.
Biden prioritizes Middle East, Ukraine conflicts
However, senior aides have indicated that the President’s attention is currently focused on the critical situations in Gaza, Israel, and Ukraine.
John Kerry, the President’s special envoy for climate change, acknowledged these global concerns, stating, “They’ve got the war in the Middle East and a war in Ukraine, a bunch of things going on.”
John Kerry to leads U.S. at Dubai summit, global leaders to attend
In place of President Biden, John Kerry, and his team will represent the United States at the Dubai summit.
The event is expected to host various global leaders, including King Charles III and Pope Francis.
Biden misses first UN climate conference since taking office
This marks the first UN climate conference that President Biden will miss since his inauguration.
His commitment to addressing climate change was previously evident in his participation in similar events.
Biden’s past climate summit attendance: 2021 Glasgow visit, 2022 Egypt stopover
In 2021, Biden traveled to Glasgow, the host city for that year’s conference, where he expressed regret over the U.S.’s brief withdrawal from climate commitments under former President Donald Trump.
The following year, Biden made a brief, three-hour visit to the summit held in Egypt.
Biden’s COP28 absence could draw criticism from climate enthusiasts
Biden’s decision to skip COP28 could potentially attract criticism from climate activists, given the significance of the summit and his previous stance on climate issues.
Past U.S. Presidents have not consistently attended these annual conferences, but Biden’s absence might be particularly noted due to his vocal commitment to tackling climate change.
Dubai summit to assess greenhouse gas reduction goals for 2030
The central focus of the Dubai summit will be on evaluating and discussing progress toward limiting greenhouse gas emissions and controlling global warming.
According to reports from the New York Times, scientists have emphasized the necessity to cut emissions 43% below 2019 levels by 2030 to avert catastrophic climate impacts.
Biden’s absence in key climate talks: A setback to global climate action
Current plans, however, are projected to achieve only a 7% reduction in emissions.
Biden’s absence at this crucial juncture might be seen as a setback in the global effort to address climate change, especially considering the urgency and magnitude of the world’s environmental challenges.