It is a Big Deal that OBAMA IS ATTENDING COP15 (?)

25 Nov


So Obama is attending is COP15.

But please reflect: why is it such a big deal that Obama is attending COP15? Indeed, teamwork is crucial and most effective. When someone lags in their responsibilities, the leader and other team members can still cooperate and accomplish their shared goals.

President Barack Obama is to pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the US in several stages, beginning with a 17% cut by 2020, the White House has said. The offer will be made at December’s UN climate talks in Copenhagen, which Mr Obama will attend.

But he does not plan to be there for the crucial last days, when delegates including other world leaders are hoping to pull together a deal.

UN climate chief Yvo de Boer said his attendance could be vital for a deal. Correspondents say most nations have given up hope of a legally binding treaty because of uncertainty about the US position. (How about NOT following the “Leader”? What happened to initiative and innovation?)

But with legislation currently stuck in the Senate, correspondents say the president will be unable to commit to any of the figures he is proposing at the summit.

BBC environment correspondent Richard Black says that on that basis the US figure amounts to just a few percentage points, as its emissions have risen by about 15% since 1990. The cuts proposed by Mr Obama are similar to those included in a bill passed by the US House of Representatives in June.

This is much less than the EU’s pledge of a 20% cut over the same period, or a 30% cut if there is a global deal; and much less than the 25-40% figure that developing countries are demanding. Australia has pledged a 25% cut from 2000 levels and Japan has also pledged a 25% cut from their 1990 levels.

The US president will be in the Danish capital on 9 December, a day before receiving his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.”Obama’s pledge to go to Copenhagen is a welcome and significant development – but he must adopt a ‘Yes we can’ attitude in the UN climate talks if he is to earn his Nobel prize,” spokesman Tom Picken said.

“The US is the world’s biggest per capita polluter (and the second largest polluter after China). It has a moral responsibility to take the lead in securing a strong and fair agreement.” (A strong and fair action for the global community.)

Delegations from 192 countries will be attending the summit. Leaders of United States, Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Australia, Japan, Indonesia and Brazil are planning to attend. (But will they stay for the concluding days? Or just drop by?)

Hu Jintao, president of the world’s largest polluter, China, is yet to commit to attending. India has not yet(!) committed either.

So, there are two weeks to go before the Copenhagen conference. The final round of preparatory talks in Barcelona has revealed deep divisions between some of the key participants. Use the following table to study their positions (from


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