The absence of US President Joe Biden from the upcoming COP28 summit in Dubai marks a departure from his previous two years of active participation in UN climate talks.

With an anticipated gathering of around 70,000 attendees, including world leaders and Pope Francis, COP28 is poised to become the largest United Nations climate summit to date.

Contrary to the past, both President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are not scheduled to attend the Dubai summit, as indicated by released White House schedules.

Instead, President Biden is set to embark on a trip to Colorado to underscore US investments in wind energy, engage in a meeting with the president of Angola, and partake in the lighting ceremony of the national Christmas tree.

Although the reasons behind Biden’s decision were not explicitly provided by an anonymous US official, recent focus on the Israel-Hamas conflict and the desire to emphasize domestic priorities ahead of the upcoming US presidential election have been suggested.

It’s worth noting that it was not customary for US presidents to attend every COP summit until Biden broke with tradition.

John Kerry, the US climate envoy and former secretary of state, will assume a prominent role in leading day-to-day negotiations for the United States at COP28.

The Biden administration is reportedly considering whether to dispatch another high-ranking official to the summit.

Biden’s attendance at COP28 would have followed his 2021 visit to Glasgow, where he pledged that the United States would reassume a global leadership role in addressing climate change.

This commitment came after his predecessor, Donald Trump, withdrew the US from the Paris climate accord, citing concerns about the cost of environmental actions.

Last year, Biden briefly participated in COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, maintaining a consistent focus on climate priorities within the domestic sphere.

The Inflation Reduction Act, a key legislative achievement for Biden, allocates substantial funds to the green economy, including incentives for the development of electric cars.

In preparation for COP28, John Kerry engaged in extensive discussions with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua.

Both negotiators pledged cooperation between their countries, the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, indicating a shared commitment to progress on climate issues during the Dubai summit.

 

 

Last Updated: 28 November 2023