Biden calls climate change ‘the ultimate threat to humanity’ but won’t be attending latest UN summit

Biden calls climate change ‘the ultimate threat to humanity’ but won’t be attending latest UN summit

The New York Times reports:

President Biden will not attend a major United Nations climate summit that begins Thursday in Dubai, skipping an event expected to be attended by King Charles III, Pope Francis and leaders from nearly 200 countries, a White House official said Sunday.

The official, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss the president’s schedule, did not give a reason Mr. Biden will not make an appearance at the two-week summit, known as COP28.

But senior White House aides suggested that the war between Israel and Hamas had consumed the president in recent weeks and days, as he pressed for a pause in fighting and release of hostages held by Hamas.

“They’ve got the war in the Middle East and a war in Ukraine, a bunch of things going on,” John Kerry, Mr. Biden’s special envoy for climate change, said last week. Mr. Kerry and his team will be in Dubai.

Kirsten Allen, a spokeswoman for Vice President Kamala Harris, said last week that Ms. Harris had no plans to attend COP28.

Addressing global warming has been a central domestic and international issue for Mr. Biden, who earlier this month called climate change “the ultimate threat to humanity.”

For the past two years, Mr. Biden has attended the annual U.N. climate conference, the location of which changes. In 2021, Mr. Biden traveled to Glasgow for the talks, where he apologized for the United States briefly pulling out of a global climate pact under President Donald J. Trump, who mocked climate science.

Last year, he made a three-hour stopover in Egypt for the summit, where he reasserted American leadership in the global fight against climate change, and promoted the passage of the country’s most significant climate law. That legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, is pouring at least $370 billion into clean energy over the next 10 years. Mr. Biden told the assembled leaders that it would help the rest of the world pivot away from fossil fuels. [Continue reading…]

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