Obama shifts Copenhagen trip as prospects brighten

December 5, 2009

The international climate summit in Copenhagen seems to be heading in positive direction as the U.S., India, and China have specific proposals for the first time. The fact that President Barack Obama will be present at the summit on December 18, a crucial period for the talks, signifies that the world could be in for some positive news. Obama was initially scheduled to do a flying visit to Denmark while on his way to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

India has pledged to cut the ratio of greenhouse gases pollution to production by 20 to 25%. This figure is measured against the levels recorded in 2005 and is hoped to be achieved by 2020. On the other hand, China has pledged a commitment to a 40 to 45% reduction in carbon intensity. However, this does not represent a reduction in the truest sense. The cut in carbon intensity promised by both nations means that emissions will continue to be there although emission growth will be cut down significantly. In China’s case, emission growth will be cut down by half. The U.S. proposes to cut down on emissions by 17%, but this proposal is based on Congress passing legislation to curb greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, a move that is not expected to be discussed in the Senate until next year.

However, the U.S. President’s imminent arrival is the current buzz topic at the summit. EU President and Swedish prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeld said “it is positive that Obama has decided to participate in the end-phase of the meeting. It will add political weight to the negotiations.”