Environmentalists are all a flutter with the news that President Obama brought his lead negotiator on climate change, Todd Stern, with him on his trip to Copenhagen to lobby for the 2016 Summer Olympics in his hometown of Chicago. The pairing raises the question that many greens have been asking for months: Will Obama personally attend the make-or-break climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December?The President hinted that he might be back soon.
"Unfortunately, my stay has not been so long," Mr. Obama said as he met with the Danish prime minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen. "I hope I'll be able to return. I've been here before, and I love the city." He then raised the subject of climate change unprompted, praising Mr. Rasmussen's leadership on the issue.
Obama's participation might be of vital importance to keep the talks on track; or, as some think, put the negotiations back on track. The U.S. is the key player in a new agreement. As the world's largest economy and its biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, the U.S. must come to the table with funding and firm and aggressive emissions reduction targets.
The short-term targets in the new Senate climate bill, sponsored by Sens. Kerry and Boxer, aims to reduce emissions by 20 percent by 2020, but the targets are too weak according the the Europeans and the loophole created by the amount of carbon offsets in the bill are big enough to drive a truck through.
The president may be prepared to act without Congress. The EPA this week issued new guidelines for regulating stationary emissions sources that emit for that 25,000 tons of GHG per year.
The UK's Gordon Brown made news last week when he announced that he will be attending the Copenhagen negotiations and he encouraged other Heads of State to join him.
More on the Copenhagen Negotiations:
Copenhagen Climate Congress to Synthesize New Science on Climate Change
Gordon Brown: I'm Going to Copenhagen, World Leaders Should Too