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Harris to attend UN climate summit in Dubai in Biden's absence

Vice President Harris will attend a major United Nations climate summit in Dubai this week, the White House said Wednesday, serving as the leading representative from the Biden administration after the president opted to skip this year’s gathering.

Harris will be in Dubai on Friday and Saturday for the the conference known as COP28, her office said. The event will include a World Leaders Summit, where heads of state were invited to speak about climate change.

“Throughout her engagements, the Vice President will underscore the Biden-Harris Administration’s success in delivering on the most ambitious climate agenda in history, both at home and abroad,” Kirsten Allen, a spokesperson for Harris, said in a statement. “The Vice President will be joined by dozens of senior U.S. officials representing more than 20 U.S. departments and agencies.”

It will mark the latest instance of Harris traveling abroad to promote the Biden administration’s agenda. She has previously attended the Munich Security Conference multiple times, and she traveled to Africa for a week earlier this year.

President Biden on Wednesday spoke with United Arab Emirates President Mohamed bin Zayed in advance of the summit to discuss the ongoing conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas, and to thank him for hosting COP28.

Biden attended the United Nations climate summits each of the past two years as he has made addressing climate change a major piece of his domestic and international agenda.  He passed a bill including major subsidies for renewable energy last year and rejoined the Paris Agreement after former President Trump withdrew the U.S. from it.

Some climate activists were critical of Biden’s decision not to attend this year’s gathering, but others argue that Biden’s absence is unlikely to impact the outcomes of the conference.

The U.S. is currently the second-largest global emitter of greenhouse gases and over the years has released more planet-warming gases than any other nation.

Source: The Hill

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