Obama Heads to COP15

The President wants to position the U.S. as a global leader on climate change at COP15.© ecoencore.org

The White House has announced that President Obama will visit Copenhagen, Denmark, on December 9 to participate in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15). "The President’s decision to go is a sign of his continuing commitment and leadership to find a global solution to the global threat of climate change, and to lay the foundation for a new, sustainable and prosperous clean energy future," states the White House.

In the context of an overall deal in Copenhagen that "includes robust mitigation contributions from China and the other emerging economies," the President plans to propose a U.S. emissions reduction target in the range of 17% below 2005 levels in 2020. Pending U.S. energy and climate legislation would entail a 30% reduction below 2005 levels in 2025 and a 42% reduction below 2005 in 2030
and ultimately 83% by 2050. This provisional target is in line with current legislation in both chambers of Congress; the President is working closely with Congress to pass energy and climate legislation as soon as possible.

Several cabinet secretaries and administration officials will travel to COP15 as well, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, along with Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren and Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner. In addition to working with other countries to advance American interests, U.S. delegates will keynote a series of events highlighting actions by the Obama administration to transition to a clean energy economy.

The President will spend the day at COP15, then travel on to Oslo, Norway, December 10, where he will deliver the Nobel Peace Prize Lecture at 1:00 p.m. (CET).

Sources: Whitehouse.gov; Nobelprize.org.