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Obama to Attend Copenhagen Climate Talks

The White House says President Barack Obama will travel to Denmark next month to attend a global climate summit in Copenhagen.

President Barack Obama and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh arrive for the first official State Dinner of Obama's administration at the White House, 24 Nov 2009
President Barack Obama and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh arrive for the first official State Dinner of Obama's administration at the White House, 24 Nov 2009

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Kent Klein

U.S. President Barack Obama will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark next month to attend a worldwide climate change summit.  The president plans to lay out U.S. goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The announcement ends months of speculation about whether President Obama would take part in the Copenhagen summit.

White House officials say the president will go to the Danish capital on December 9, then to Oslo, Norway to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.

While in Copenhagen, Mr. Obama will make a provisional pledge to cut pollution-causing carbon dioxide emissions by about 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. 

The president has said in the past that a final package cannot be completed in Copenhagen because the U.S. Congress is still debating legislation to implement the emissions cuts.  Mr. Obama later said the United States might go further in negotiations than had been expected.

The U.S. is the last among several dozen industrialized countries to offer a specific commitment for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The European Union has urged the U.S. and China to bring target numbers to the summit, and has criticized them for their delays.

China's climate change negotiator, Yu Qingtai, blames rich countries for causing greenhouse gas emissions.

He says developed countries have not shown enough sincerity in the negotiations.

U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer says it is critical that Mr. Obama attend the talks, and is welcoming his decision to do so.

One day before the White House announcement, the president and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unveiled what they called a "green partnership," affirming their commitment to fighting climate change.

Mr. Singh said Tuesday both countries will work together to make the environment cleaner.

"We welcome the president's commitment to a major program for promotion of renewable energy, and I drew his attention to India's own ambitious national action plan on climate change which has eight national missions covering both mitigation and adaptation," he said.

Two weeks of United Nations-sponsored negotiations, expected to involve 192 nations, will begin on December 7 in Copenhagen.  At least 65 world leaders will attend the summit. Other than Mr. Obama, most are expected to be present for its final days.

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