Obama Goes to Copenhagen!

from Wildlife Promise

A day before Thanksgiving, President Obama gave us all a little something more to be thankful for by announcing that he will attend next week’s climate negotiations in Copenhagen. The announcement came after thousands of youth contacted the White House through the It’s Game Time Obama campaign, sponsored by Powershift ‘09, and through the NWF Action Center asking President Obama to take action on climate change.

His appearance at the talks is considered especially important given that healthcare continues to dominate the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has promised to move forward with healthcare reform hoping to hold votes in December. The timing of these votes could directly interfere with the Copenhagen meetings, preventing Senate climate leaders John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) from traveling to Copenhagen and build support.

Obama’s announcement also coincides with the announcement of a provisional greenhouse gas emissions target for 2020 in the range of 17% below 2005 levels. These levels will be placed on the bargaining table at Copenhagen and closely parallel with levels included in the House climate bill passed earlier this year, as well as the Senate bill that will likely reach the floor in the spring.

Possibly due to the youth campaigns that have urged Obama to action,the White House will host a Clean Energy Economy Forum with youth leaders from around the country on Wednesday, December 2 from 4:00-7:00 pm. Campus Ecology’s own Praween Dayananda will be in attendance, along with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, and other Administration officials. The forum will address the benefits of the clean energy economy for younger generations and the role young Americans have in being leaders in and benefiting from those opportunities.

The forum will be webcast live here, and will also be open to the public through a Facebook application which allows the public to watch and discuss the event live. The White House will be keeping up with the chat, taking questions, and incorporating feedback from chat participants during the event.