US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden speaks at a meeting of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, in the Indian Treaty Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Washingtn: US President Joe Biden hailed a deal secured Wednesday at UN climate talks in Dubai as a "historic milestone" in transitioning away from fossil fuels but said there was still work to do.

"Today, at COP28, world leaders reached another historic milestone - committing, for the first time, to transition away from the fossil fuels that jeopardize our planet and our people," Biden said in a statement.

"While there is still substantial work ahead of us to keep the 1.5 degree C goal within reach, today's outcome puts us one significant step closer."

The deal asks for greater action this decade and recommits to no net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in hopes of meeting the increasingly elusive goal of checking warming at 1.5 degrees (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

The United States is the world's second biggest greenhouse gas emitter after China.

Biden skipped the Dubai summit and sent Vice President Kamala Harris to attend the start instead.

He had travelled to the COP meeting in Glasgow in 2021 to vow that the United States would again take a global leadership role after his climate skeptic predecessor Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord.

Biden again made a brief trip last year to COP27 in Sharm Al Sheikh, Egypt.

The Democrat has put a high priority on climate domestically as he seeks a second term in the 2024 US presidential election, in which he will likely face Trump again.