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Biden Chooses Not to Attend World Leaders’ Summit at COP28 Climate Talks in Dubai

President Biden has made the decision not to attend the world leaders’ summit at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Dubai this weekend, as stated in the official White House schedule released on Sunday.

The reasons behind this decision were not immediately clear. Although the president has attended the past two annual U.N. climate conferences, the U.S. climate envoy and other top officials are still scheduled to be present at this year’s event in the United Arab Emirates.

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By choosing not to attend, the United States is likely to face increased criticism from developing countries that have contributed the least to climate change but are the most vulnerable to its effects, such as rising sea levels and stronger storms.

It is important to note that America is the largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

In recent weeks, President Biden has been preoccupied with the conflict between Israel and Hamas. However, his schedule and news reports indicate that he will be in Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday, where he will be engaging in fundraising activities and visiting a wind tower factory.

On Thursday, the first day of COP28, Biden is scheduled to meet with Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço and participate in the White House Christmas tree lighting.

There are no public events scheduled for Friday, the first day of the world leaders’ summit at COP28. Finally, on Sunday, the president is set to attend the Kennedy Center Honors.

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Many other world leaders, each with their own climate records, have committed to attending COP28. This includes Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has pledged to combat deforestation in the Amazon, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who recently delayed the U.K.’s climate goals due to cost concerns.

Credit: DepositPhotos

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who recently met with President Biden in California, is expected to also skip the summit. Instead, the Chinese delegation will be represented by Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang and climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua, according to Chinese state media.

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It remains unclear whether President Biden will travel to COP28 for the second week of negotiations, after other world leaders have likely departed. White House spokesman Angelo Fernández Hernández did not provide any updates on the president’s planned trips.

However, he stated that Special Envoy John Kerry, National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, Senior Advisor John Podesta, and others will continue to build on the administration’s efforts to address the climate crisis at COP28.

Vice President Harris is also not expected to attend the COP28 leaders’ summit, as her schedule indicates holiday receptions on Friday and Saturday.

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