Joe Biden to sit out world leaders' summit at beginning of Cop28 in Dubai

US President has attended the last two events

US President Joe Biden arrives at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. AP
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest news on Cop28

US President Joe Biden will not attend the world leaders' summit, which will take place on Friday and Saturday at the opening of the UN Cop28 climate conference in Dubai, according to the official weekly White House schedule.

The White House did not immediately explain why Mr Biden was not scheduled to attend or whether he would participate in other parts of Cop28.

The US President has attended the global conference over the past two years.

The World Climate Action Summit “signifies the importance for world leaders to implement and transform key climate related decisions into concrete actions and credible plans, continue raising ambition, building up from previous Conference of the Parties, and keep the high-level commitment on climate change issues”, the UN says on its website.

The US is one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, generating almost 15 per cent of global emissions. As a major contributor to human-caused climate change, its participation in the climate conference is all the more critical.

A long list of other global leaders are scheduled to attend Cop28.

But President Xi Jinping of China, another major polluter, is also expected to skip the climate conference. Instead, Beijing will be represented by Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang and climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua, according to Chinese state media.

Mr Biden is scheduled on Thursday to host a bilateral meeting with President Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco of Angola for talks aimed at discussing “next steps to deepen our bilateral co-operation on trade, investment, climate and energy”, the White House said.

President and first lady Jill Biden will participate in the National Christmas Tree Lighting and on Sunday, they will host a reception for the star-studded 46th Kennedy Centre Honours.

The Biden administration has put climate back on Washington's national agenda and earlier this year celebrated the anniversary of the President's landmark Inflation Reduction Act climate bill.

The IRA's investments carry the potential to accelerate the pace of the domestic energy transition and move the US closer to its target of a 50 per cent to 52 per cent emissions reduction by 2030, according to analysis from the Washington-based Atlantic Council.

Updated: November 29, 2023, 11:59 AM