Highlight of the Week: Obama to Copenhagen as Momentum Builds

Amid calls for broader international engagement in efforts to curb global warming, President Obama will commit the U.S. to carbon pollution reductions when he travels to next month's United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
The president's decision to attend the conference is seen as an
indication of the administration's commitment to climate action as well
as a portent of significant international and domestic agreements in the months ahead.
"This provisional target is in line with current legislation in
both chambers of Congress and demonstrates a significant contribution
to a problem that the U.S. has neglected for too long," the White House
said in a press release.  "[President Obama is] working closely with
Congress to pass energy and climate legislation as soon as possible."
The White House also announced that
President Obama is willing to consider a U.S. emissions reduction
target in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels in 2020, in keeping
with the administration's broader goal of reducing emissions 83 percent
by 2050.
Government officials and commentators in Europe have welcomed Obama's commitment and newly announced attendance.
"[The] strong commitment of the American president to the climate change issue is very valuable," said Danish
Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen. "[The visit signals] the will of
the president to contribute to an ambitious global deal in Copenhagen."
Among U.S. officials scheduled to attend the summit are Interior
Secretary Ken Salazar, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Commerce
Secretary Gary Locke, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Environmental
Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

Published: December 3, 2009