Nov 29, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Kamala Harris to attend COP 28 climate summit

 Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at press conference during the UK Artificial Intelligence (AI) Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, in central England, on November 2, 2023.

Vice President Kamala Harris during an event in England earlier this month. Photo: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to attend the UN's COP 28 climate summit in Dubai this week, the White House said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Harris would be the top U.S. official going unless President Biden makes a surprise appearance.

Driving the news: Biden asked Harris to attend on his behalf to "showcase U.S. global leadership on climate at home and abroad and to help galvanize increased global ambition at this critical event," the White House said.

  • She will be in the United Arab Emirates from Friday to Saturday, joined by dozens of senior U.S. officials — including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and climate envoy John Kerry, per the White House.

Of note: Biden, who is not expected to attend this year, was present at the previous two COP summits and has put tackling climate change at the center of his policymaking.

  • When asked if the announcement of Harris' attendance meant that Biden definitely wouldn't attend COP28, a White House spokesperson referred Axios to a readout of his phone call with UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed.
  • This states that Biden asked the vice president to "attend the COP28 Leaders Summit on his behalf to showcase U.S. global leadership on climate at home and abroad and to help galvanize increased global ambition at this critical event."

What they're saying: "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," the White House said.

  • They added that during the summit, she'll "underscore the administration's success in delivering on the most ambitious climate agenda in history, both at home and abroad."

Go deeper: Kerry, UN boss show more cards ahead of COP 28

Go deeper