According to an anonymous White House official, US President Joe Biden will not attend the United Nation's (UN) two-week COP28 climate summit set to begin on Nov. 30.
While the official did not provide a reason for Biden's absence when speaking to the New York Times, Special Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry stated last week that the president had a "bunch of things going on" – specifically citing current conflicts in the Middle East and in Ukraine.
With the US being the largest producer of oil in the world, the decision for Biden not to attend what may be COP's most important conference is a serious blow to climate discussions. It's more urgent than ever for global leaders to come together, and yet multiple nations continue to refrain from confirming the attendance of major political figures. Without the presence of Biden, Xi Jinping, and many others, the likelihood of meaningful international agreements being achieved at the summit decreases substantially.
It is not solely up to national politicians to protect our environment — business leaders, regional figures, and non-state stakeholders will be integral in influencing cross-border consensus. It is also inevitable that COP28 will see the benefit of the resumption of "soft relations" between the US and China. The UAE is set to convene one of the most inclusive conferences yet, with the potential to create decisive change for the world's future — Biden's absence is not a critical path to major success.
There is a 50% chance that the average global temperature in 2100 will be at least 2.47˚C higher than the average global temperature in 1880, according to the Metaculus prediction community.