Biden to miss major UN climate meeting in Dubai, White House official says

Biden attended the summit briefly in Egypt last year during a three-hour stopover.

Published: November 27, 2023 8:54am

President Joe Biden is not planning to attend a major United Nations climate summit starting this week in Dubai, a White House official said, as he misses an event that is expected to draw nearly 200 country leaders as well as King Charles III and Pope Francis.

No reason was given as to why Biden will not appear at the two-week summit, known as COP28, according to The New York Times.

Senior White House aides suggested that the president has been consumed by the Israel-Hamas war in recent weeks as he focuses on releasing the hostages. 

"They’ve got the war in the Middle East and a war in Ukraine, a bunch of things going on," John Kerry, the Biden administration's special envoy for climate change, said last week. He plans to be in Dubai with his team.

Like the president, Vice President Kamala Harris also does not have plans to attend COP28, her spokeswoman Kirsten Allen said.

Biden attended the summit briefly in Egypt last year during a three-hour stopover, and he also attended the 2021 COP summit. 

This year in Dubai, leaders are expected to discuss their attempts to limit global warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels, which is the limit beyond which scientists say humans will have difficulties adapting to natural disasters.

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