Harris to Stand In for Biden at COP28 Climate Conference

Vice President Kamala Harris will attend the annual United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Friday and Saturday, standing in for President Biden, who will skip the event for the first time since taking office.

A spokeswoman for Ms. Harris said in a statement on Wednesday that while at the summit, known as COP28, the vice president would “underscore the Biden-Harris administration’s success in delivering on the most ambitious climate agenda in history, both at home and abroad.”

But her presence is unlikely to satisfy some climate activists, who have said that Mr. Biden’s decision to skip the summit — which is being attended by nearly 200 leaders from around the world — will undermine international efforts to confront the planet’s changing climate.

White House officials have said Mr. Biden is consumed with other global issues, including the war between Israel and Hamas and securing funding for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion, which has become the subject of an intense congressional clash in recent days.

Mr. Biden attended the climate summits in 2021 and 2022, setting the expectation among some climate activists in the United States that he would not miss it this year.

Officials said Ms. Harris would be joined in Dubai by three of the top climate officials in the United States: John F. Kerry, the special presidential envoy for climate; Ali Zaidi, the president’s national climate adviser; and John Podesta, the president’s senior adviser for clean energy innovation and implementation.

During the summit, officials said, Ms. Harris will announce several U.S. initiatives related to bolstering climate resilience in other countries and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They said she would also discuss the passage of clean energy legislation during the first two years of the administration.

As vice president, Ms. Harris cast the tiebreaking vote on the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides $370 billion in government subsidies for solar panels, electric cars and other technologies designed to reduce emissions. The administration calls it the largest climate change investment by any country.

The White House did not provide a schedule for Ms. Harris at the summit, and did not say whether she would deliver a speech or hold a news conference while there.

In her statement, Kirsten Allen, the vice president’s press secretary, said Ms. Harris would engage with other leaders at the summit.

“The vice president’s participation in COP28 will continue the Biden-Harris administration’s leadership on bold, global action to address the climate crisis, advance U.S. climate goals, and help ensure a strong outcome at COP28,” she wrote.

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