President Joe Biden, speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on November 21. The White House said he will not travel to COP28 in Dubai. Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 27 (UPI) -- The White House announced Monday that President Joe Biden will not attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28, this year, including the world leaders' summit on Friday and Saturday in Dubai.
While the United States will send climate envoy John Kerry and other top officials, Biden's absence is expected to stand out among the 70,000 delegates who plan to attend. Biden had participated in the last two summits.
"Since day one, President Biden has led and delivered on the most ambitious climate agenda in history, both at home and abroad," a White House spokesperson said.
"He secured the largest climate investment ever, putting the U.S. on a path to cut climate pollution in half by 2030, protected more than 21 million acres of public lands and waters, and he continues to rally world leaders to raise their collective climate ambition."
In a schedule released Monday, Biden's only confirmed appearances on Sunday include hosting a reception for Kennedy Center Honorees at the White House.
Honorees include comedian Billy Crystal; acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming; British singer-songwriter, producer and member of the Bee Gees Barry Gibb; rapper, singer, and actress Queen Latifah; and singer Dionne Warwick. Biden is to attend the Kennedy Center Honors event that evening.
Among world leaders who have given a commitment to attend the climate summit are Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
While Biden could still appear at the conference the following week, White House spokesman Angelo Fernández Hernández said no additions to the president's travel plans are planned.
"Although we don't have any travel updates to share for the president at this time, the administration looks forward to a robust and productive COP28 where Special Envoy John Kerry, National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi, and Senior Adviser John Podesta, among others, will continue to build on the administration's historic actions to tackle the climate crisis," the spokesman said.