Sunday, June 23, 2024

President Biden has signed the country’s first major climate law and is overseeing record federal investment in clean energy. In each of the past two years, he attended the annual United Nations climate summit, asserting American leadership in the fight against global warming. However, this year, he will not be traveling to the summit in Dubai. According to a White House official, Mr. Biden is staying home due to other global crises, including attempting to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas in its war with Israel and working to persuade Congress to approve aid to Ukraine.

At home, Mr. Biden’s climate and energy policies are facing competing political pressures. Centrists in his party are concerned about Republican attacks that he is pursuing a “radical green agenda” and want him to talk more about the record amounts of crude oil the United States has produced. On the other hand, climate activists, particularly young voters, want him to shut down drilling altogether.

Internationally, developing countries are pushing Mr. Biden to deliver on past promises for billions of dollars to help cope with climate change, but Republicans in Congress who control spending are unable to reach an agreement among themselves.

More than 100 other world leaders are scheduled to appear in Dubai, including Chinese President Xi Jinping. If the two men were to reconsider and appear to the summit, it would “give a moral boost to everyone” at the summit.

The summit in Dubai will discuss progress, or lack thereof, in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels, as well as whether nations should phase out fossil fuels. “What we’re pushing for here is sensible policy that everybody can buy into and actually do,” said John Kerry, Mr. Biden’s special envoy for climate change. “There are 199 countries at the COP with wide ranging views on that issue. So we’re going to be working to achieve the best possible language.”

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