The White House confirmed that President Joe Biden is set to miss the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP28, scheduled for November 30 to December 12 in Dubai. This revelation has sparked discussions on the implications of his absence at such a critical global environmental event.
Biden’s Commitment to Climate Change
Despite not attending COP28, President Biden has been recognized for leading a historically ambitious climate agenda. His administration has secured the largest climate investment ever, aimed at cutting climate pollution in half by 2030. The administration has affirmed its commitment to continuing these efforts despite Biden’s absence.
Scheduling Conflicts and Priorities
Biden’s non-attendance at COP28 is attributed to the balancing of demands for the president’s time, including a Middle East conflict and negotiations with a Republican-controlled House over federal spending. Additionally, the upcoming presidential campaign season is expected to intensify, requiring his presence on the domestic front.
International Diplomacy and the Climate Agenda
Biden’s presence at COP28 would have presented an opportunity for direct engagement with world leaders on critical issues, including the war in Gaza and climate change. Notably, his administration has been a vocal advocate for global climate action, returning the U.S. to the Paris Agreement and promoting significant climate provisions such as the Inflation Reduction Act.
The U.S. Delegation to COP28
In Biden’s stead, climate envoy John Kerry and other top officials will attend the conference. The U.S. delegation is expected to build on the administration’s actions to tackle the climate crisis and engage in negotiations on critical environmental challenges facing the globe.
Global Leaders’ Attendance and the U.S. Role
The summit in Dubai is expected to draw leaders from around the world, including Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The U.S., albeit without its president, will still play a vital role in the proceedings and negotiations, particularly in the push for a deal to phase out CO2-emitting coal, oil, and gas.
President Joe Biden’s absence at COP28 raises questions about the U.S.’s positioning in global climate discussions. However, the administration emphasizes its ongoing commitment to environmental issues and international diplomacy, even as domestic affairs demand the president’s attention. The outcomes of COP28 and the effectiveness of the U.S. delegation will be closely watched for their impact on international climate policy and action.