The COP28 climate summit witnessed the absence of both US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, drawing attention as their non-participation posed challenges to substantial climate action. However, the UAE emerged as a notable player, committing a substantial $38 billion toward climate change solutions and unveiling a comprehensive plan aimed at achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
While global leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gathered for the summit, the significant absence of Biden and Xi was highlighted, considering the pivotal roles their respective nations play as major carbon emitters. Reports emphasized the US, China, and India as the top carbon emitters globally.
Although Vice President Kamala Harris represented the US at the summit on Biden's behalf, his absence was attributed to extensive engagements, including involvement in international conflicts and negotiations.
Despite the absence of Biden and Xi, other prominent figures such as King Charles III and Pope Francis attended alongside various delegates. The primary goal of the summit remains centered on garnering commitments from all nations to uphold the Paris 2015 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, aiming to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The decision of Biden and Xi to skip the event was seen as a missed opportunity to drive momentum into crucial climate talks. With the US and China jointly contributing to a substantial portion of global greenhouse emissions, their absence raised concerns about the lack of leadership in addressing climate challenges.
Tom Evans from the think tank E3G expressed disappointment over the absence of these influential leaders, especially as they had recently found common ground on climate issues amidst escalating tensions on other fronts. The absence of consensus, particularly from some developing nations hesitant to commit to stringent emission cuts, posed a hurdle in the COP28 discussions, reflecting concerns about potential impacts on their economic development.
(With Agency Inputs)