President Barack Obama to Attend Climate Change Summit in Denmark Later than Expected

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (UPI) — U.S. President Obama rescheduled his attendance at the climate change summit in Denmark, based on actions by China and India on coal, the White House said.

Obama will travel to the U.N.-sponsored summit in Copenhagen Dec. 18, when more than 80 leaders of government will convene to craft an agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement Friday.

Obama had planned to attend the gathering Wednesday as he traveled to Oslo, Norway, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, India and China have identified near-term climate goals, signaling a meaningful deal could be struck, White House officials said. India announced Thursday it will improve the energy efficiency of its economy between now and 2020. China outlined its own climate target last week.

“After months of diplomatic activity, there is progress being made toward a meaningful Copenhagen accord in which all countries pledge to take action against the global threat of climate change,” Gibbs said in the statement. “Based on his conversations with other leaders and the progress that has already been made to give momentum to negotiations, the president believes that continued U.S. leadership can be most productive through his participation at the end of the Copenhagen conference … .”

Even if issues still need to be negotiated for an agreement to be reached, Gibbs said the change in plans “reflects the president’s commitment to doing all that he can to pursue a positive outcome.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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