Maybe he liked the city? Either way, President Barack Obama announced today that he will attend the climate negotiations in Copenhagen this December. The climate summit is held between 7-18 December and is the last chance we have to take action against â€œthe greatest threat the world has ever facedâ€.
With him to the climate summit Obama has a pledge to cut emissions in the USA with 17% from 2005 levels by 2020, 30% by 2025, 42% by 2030 and 83% by 2050. But these numbers are much lower than those proposed by the EU and other industrialised countries such as Norway.
The numbers are also much lower than what the science says is needed to avert catastrophic man-made climate change. According to the IPCC report in 2007 industrialised countries such as the USA needs to cut their emissions by 25-40% by 2020. The global environmental alliance TckTckTck calls for developed countries to cut emissions with 40% by 2020. And according to paleoclimate scientist Dr Andrew Glikson we need to cut carbon emissions with up to 80% by 2020 to avoid catastrophe.
In response to Obama's announcement the UN climate chief, Yvo de Boer, said that â€œthe world is very much looking to the United States to come forward with an emission reduction target and contribute to financial support to help developing countries.â€
But Obama does not plan to join around 65 other world leaders during the final days of the UN climate meeting. Despite this the Danish Prime Minister Lars LÃ¸kke Rasmussen praised Obamaâ€™s decision and said that â€œthe visit underlines the president's desire to contribute to an ambitious, global agreement in Copenhagenâ€.
World Wildlife Fundâ€™s Climate Program Director, Keya Chatterjee, said that the environmental organization is â€œpleasedâ€ that President Obama will attend the climate summit. But also noted that:
Greenpeace USA Global Warming Campaign Director, Damon Moglen, response was a bit harsher. In a statement Moglen said Obamaâ€™s short visit â€œamounts to nothing more than President Obama taking a photo opportunity on his way to pick up the Nobel Peace Prize.â€ Moglen also said that the international community cannot take Obamaâ€™s emission pledge seriously: