Obama's attendance at Copenhagen "an important gesture"

2 December 2009

On Wednesday, the White House announced that President Barack Obama will attend the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on December 9, for the start of the two-week negotiations.

"This is an important gesture by the Obama Administration," says Amy Davidsen, The Climate Group's US Director.

"A successful treaty requires a certain amount of trust between countries.  After the US decision not to participate in the Kyoto Protocol, and recent delays on climate policy in the US Senate, many around the world were left questioning the US's commitment to this issue. 

"While Obama has said that climate change is a priority for his Administration, his attendance in Copenhagen will underscore his commitment to driving investment into low carbon technologies."

The Obama Administration also indicated that they will commit to a short-term reduction target of 17 below 2005 levels by 2020 - the target included in the House climate bill that passed earlier this year.  The target would be contingent on the passage of a domestic climate policy.

"The provisional approach makes sense for the US," says The Climate Group's Amy Davidsen.  "President Obama does not want a repeat of Kyoto - where he commits to a target only to have the Senate reject it.  This way, he is able to put something tangible on the table at Copenhagen, without jeopardizing the fragile domestic process."

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