Biden Defends His Absence At Major Summit

The United States is set to have a strong presence at the upcoming U.N. climate summit in Dubai, despite President Joe Biden’s absence. John Kerry, the U.S. climate envoy, will lead the American delegation at the COP28 meeting, accompanied by two other high-ranking officials. While President Biden will not attend the summit, the White House emphasized the administration’s commitment to tackling climate change.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed confidence in the delegation, stating they anticipate a productive outcome. She also highlighted President Biden’s ambitious climate agenda, considered the most comprehensive in history. However, when questioned about Biden’s travel plans, Jean-Pierre and White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby could not provide any updates.

Earlier reports suggested that President Biden would skip the Dubai summit, marking the first time in two years that he would not attend these talks aimed at showcasing U.S. leadership on climate issues. The decision is not related to a gap in his schedule on Friday and Saturday nor a potential window towards the end of the talks on December 12. Instead, Biden is focusing on efforts to maintain and extend the truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The COP28 summit will draw around 70,000 attendees, including world leaders and Pope Francis. While it has not been customary for U.S. presidents to attend every COP summit, President Biden made an appearance at COP26 in Glasgow last year, vowing that the United States would reassume its global leadership role on climate change after Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. He also briefly attended COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

President Biden’s commitment to addressing climate change extends beyond international summits. Domestically, he has prioritized it, as evidenced by his signature Inflation Reduction Act. This legislation allocates billions of dollars to the green economy, including incentives to promote the use of electric cars.

While President Biden’s absence from the Dubai summit is notable, the strong U.S. delegation, led by John Kerry, underscores America’s global dedication to combating climate change. The summit presents an opportunity for nations to collaborate and take decisive action in the face of this pressing issue.