The U.S. official White House schedule reports that President Joe Biden will not be attending the kick-off of the UN Climate Change Conference later this week in Dubai.
The White House has yet to give an official reason for Biden skipping the start of the annual global climate summit, at which other world leaders, including Pope Francis, will appear at.
The New York Times reported that senior White House officials indicated that the Gaza war was keeping Biden busy, as he was pushing for an extended pause in the fighting and the release of hostages held by Hamas.
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, who is the Biden administration’s point person for international negotiations to tackle the crisis, is expected to be on-site in Dubai.
Representatives from around 200 countries are meeting for a fortnight, starting Thursday at the United Nations “Conference of the Parties” on climate, known as COP28, in the United Arab Emirates.
Biden attended the last two summits in Scotland and Egypt.
Earlier this month, he described the climate crisis as the “ultimate threat to humanity.”
The agenda for COP28 includes a new target for the expansion of renewable energies.
A financial pot for damages and losses is also on the agenda and an official assessment of whether the world is on track to contain the crisis.