News

Europeans Upbeat Over Obama's Climate Change Attendance

European leaders, environmentalists hail as good news President Obama's decision to attend at least part of December's climate summit in Copenhagen

Multimedia

Audio
European reaction has generally been positive to President Barack Obama's announcement he will attend December climate talks in Copenhagen and to Washington's provisional targets for cutting greenhouse emissions.
 
European leaders and environmentalists hailed as good news President Obama's decision to attend at least part of next month's climate summit in Copenhagen. Both Sweden - the current president of the European Union - and Denmark, which is hosting the climate talks, said the US leader's presence would boost expectations for the conference.
 
The European Union is at the forefront of a global push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It has pledged to cut those emissions by 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2020. By the same year, it says, 20 percent of its energy will come from renewable sources.
 
The Obama administration has pledged a provisional target of reducing greenhouse gasses by about 17 percent of 2005 levels by 2020 - with deeper cuts after that. The initial pledge is far less ambitious than the European one. But Mr. Obama is hamstrung by the fact the US Congress has yet to pass climate legislation.
 
While French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo called the U.S. stance extremely encouraging, other European politicians have called on Washington to push for deeper emissions cuts.
 
Some also expressed disappointment that Mr. Obama was not scheduled to attend the end of the Copenhagen summit when the toughest negotiations are expected to take place. Mr. Obama is expected to arrive on December 9 - two days after the meeting starts. Joris den Blanken is European climate policy director for Greenpeace International.
 
"I think it's very positive that Obama announced he's coming to Copenhagen, but he's in fact coming at the the wrong day. The high-level segment in Copenhagen is the 16th and 17th of December," he said. "That's the moment where President Obama can negotiate..with European leaders like [German] Chancellor Merkel, President Sarkozy of France, Prime Minister Reinfeldt of Sweden. That's when it should happen," he said.
 
On Thursday, China announced its first detailed plan to ease carbon dioxide emissions. The State Councilsaid the country will reduce its "carbon intensity" by 40 to 45 percent by the year 2020, as compared to 2005 emission levels. It described the target as a voluntary action, and predicted it would make a "major contribution" to global efforts to deal with climate change.
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs