Science and TechClimate Change


Some world leaders say they won't attend COP28 climate talks

This week's climate summit in Dubai will be missing some heads of state who will remain focused on the war in Israel.
Banners for the COP28 climate conference in Dubai
Posted at 10:04 PM, Nov 28, 2023

Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, is preparing to host a summit of global leaders and experts at COP28 this week who will measure efforts against climate change.

But some high-profile leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden and Pope Francis, have indicated they won't be present at the talks.

The summit is scheduled to begin on Thursday. It will host some 70,000 attendees, including delegates who will gather to assess and debate global progress in limiting the effects of climate change.

Leaders want to determine how far along we are in limiting global warming as it climbs above the preindustrial baseline.

The meeting is the first worldwide check on progress since goals were laid out in the 2015 Paris Agreement, which set the goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

Absent leaders

A U.S. climate delegation including special envoy John Kerry will attend the summit, but President Biden will not attend himself, the White House said. John Kirby, spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, said he remains focused on mediating the Israel-Hamas war. 

Israel's Foreign Ministry told The Associated Press that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not attend because of his focus on the war.

The Vatican said Pope Francis also canceled his expected attendance on his doctor's orders, as he recovers from a bout of flu and lung inflammation.

Business interests

The private sector has high hopes for global commitments at COP28.

A coalition of 131 companies sent an open letter to policymakers calling for better financing for a clean energy transition and for plans from fossil fuel producers to decarbonize their operations.

Businesses say they want to see a meaningful carbon tax that reflects the true climate costs of fossil fuels.

The letter also urges a lofty goal of "100% decarbonized power systems by 2035 in advanced economies."

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