NewsAnalysis: Obama Is Showing Up in Copenhagen — But Will He Step Up to Climate Leadership?

TaniaHaldarHartThis week’s Sea Change Radio News Analysis comes from Tania Haldar Hart:

In a promising turn of events, President Obama announced on Wednesday, November 25th, that he will participate in the UN’s Climate Conference in Copenhagen, next month. This gesture has resurrected the possibilities of bolder outcomes emerging from the upcoming deliberations.  While at COP15 on December 9th, he is expected to announce a provisional US emissions reduction target of 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. Hopes were dashed earlier this month at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Singapore when he and other world leaders concluded that there will not be a binding climate treaty coming out of Copenhagen.

Before Obama planned his one day visit, climate crusader Bill McKibben argued that the US President lacked political leadership compared to the Maldivian President, Mohammend Nasheer, who is rallying efforts to safeguard his island nation from climate catastrophe. In last Sunday’s Washington Post op-ed column, McKibben stated “Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all. Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high.”

Does Obama’s decision underscore his leadership in calming the chaos in Copenhagen? Will his participation bring us closer to a new era of global co-operation? Is his visit enough to re-inject momentum towards climate action? Or, is it simply a weak gesture? Weigh in with your opinions by adding a comment to this page, or on the Sea Change Facebook Fan Page.

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