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Biden to skip UN climate summit in Dubai

Nov 27, 2023

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According to the White House, President Biden will not attend the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Dubai later this week. World leaders from nearly 200 countries are expected to attend the meeting known as COP28.

Yet most governments are still strolling when they need to be sprinting.

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell

News of Biden’s absence comes as top U.N. climate officials warn that crisis is knocking on the door. U.N. Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell spoke exclusively with The Guardian on the importance of this year’s conference.

“We’re used to talking about protecting people on the far-flung frontlines. We’re now at the point where we’re all on the frontline,” Stiell said. “Yet most governments are still strolling when they need to be sprinting.”

Biden has attended the conference for the past two years. Though no reason has been given for Biden’s absence, senior White House officials have pointed to the president being consumed in recent weeks with the war between Israel and Hamas.

Earlier this month, following the release of the Fifth National Climate Assessment, Biden called climate change “the ultimate threat to humanity.”

Reuters reports that the upcoming presidential election may also be playing a role in the president’s absence at the U.N.’s conference.

On Thursday, Nov. 30, President Biden is expected to host a bilateral meeting with Republic of Angola President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço. Biden is then scheduled to attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, according to the president’s schedule released by the White House.

Vice President Kamala Harris is also not expected to attend the conference, though U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry and other top officials are scheduled to attend. In Dubai, nations are expected to discuss, among other topics, whether to make an agreement on phasing out fossil fuels.

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PRESIDENT BIDEN WILL NOT BE ATTENDING THE U.N. CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE IN DUBAI LATER THIS WEEK – ACCORDING TO THE WHITE HOUSE.

WORLD LEADERS FROM NEARLY 200 COUNTRIES ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND.

BIDEN HAS ATTENDED THE CONFERENCE THE PAST TWO YEARS.

THOUGH NO REASON HAS BEEN GIVEN FOR BIDEN’S ABSENCE – SENIOR WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS HAVE POINTED TO THE PRESIDENT BEING CONSUMED IN RECENT WEEKS WITH THE WAR BETWEEN ISRAEL AND HAMAS.

VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS IS ALSO NOT EXPECTED TO BE AT THE CONFERENCE – THOUGH U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE JOHN KERRY AND OTHER TOP OFFICIALS ARE SCHEDULED TO ATTEND.

IN DUBAI — NATIONS ARE EXPECTED TO DISCUSS AMONG OTHER TOPICS — WHETHER TO COME TO AN AGREEMENT ON PHASING OUT FOSSIL FUELS.