Biden not planning to attend U.N. climate conference in Dubai

Washington — President Biden is not planning to attend the United Nations climate change conference known as COP28 that starts this week in Dubai, remaining stateside as he focuses on domestic affairs and the crisis in Israel and Gaza.

The two-week summit will be widely attended by world leaders and diplomats, and the president has attended before. The White House is sending a team that includes John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also plans to attend COP28 events.

The conference did not appear on the president’s weekly schedule that was released by the White House on Sunday. A spokesman said Monday that the White House didn’t “have any travel updates to share for the President at this time,” but that the “Administration looks forward to a robust and productive COP28” that will “continue to build on the administration’s historic actions to tackle the climate crisis.

Mr. Biden has attended the conference twice before as president. At last year’s conference in Egypt, he vowed the U.S. would do its part to avert a “climate hell.” At the time, Mr. Biden said with “confidence” that the U.S. would reach its emissions targets by 2030.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration released the Fifth National Climate Assessment, which included a grim outlook on the impact climate change will have on the U.S. as it worsens. As it stands, the current efforts to address climate change are “insufficient,” the report found.

“Anyone who willfully denies the impact of climate change is condemning the American people to a very dangerous future,” the president said when the report was released. “The impacts we’re seeing are only going to get worse, more frequent, more ferocious, and more costly.”

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