by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden’s likely absence from this year’s U.N. Climate Change Conference is set to upset Democrats as Biden tries to keep his party together amid Israel’s war against Hamas.
But the White House and Biden’s campaign appear to be hoping that Democrats will forgive the president, given the conflict, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and a range of domestic priorities, as he grapples with poor polling before next year’s election.
Biden’s absence from the 28th annual U.N. climate summit, known as COP28 because of the “conference of the parties” to the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, coincides with the president having an average approval-disapproval rating of net negative 15 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics. Dissatisfaction with Biden has been exacerbated by increased consumer prices, with some critics contending the president’s energy policies, including his advocacy of electric vehicles, have made the problem worse.
“We know the prices are still too high for too many things, that times are still too tough for too many families,” Biden said this week at the White House. “We’ve made progress, but we have more work to do.”
But with Democrats becoming more critical of Biden a year before the 2024 election in response to his support of Israel’s war against Hamas, the president risks rankling members of his party, particularly younger ones already perturbed by his reaction to the Middle East crisis, with his absence from COP28.
The Biden campaign has downplayed concerns about the president’s standing among Democrats regarding his climate positions, with one source telling the Washington Examiner polling suggests it is currently not the most pressing issue for the public. …
… Simultaneously, climate advocate Bob Inglis, a former Republican congressman from South Carolina, had advice for more liberal Democrats disenchanted with Biden’s environmental record.
“Seems that the far left is always wanting more — and more than most Americans want them to go,” he said.