Obama to Attend Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall-style event with Chinese youth at the Museum of Science and Technology in Shanghai, Monday, Nov. 16, 2009. The President announced on Wednesday that he will personally attend the U.N.'s December climate change summit in Copenhagen to commit the U.S. top lower carbon emissions standards. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

US President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that he will personally attend the UN's December meeting in Copenhagen to make a commitment on the country's behalf towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama is scheduled to attend the third day of the Copenhagen conference where he will endorse a U.S. commitment to reduce emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

The long awaited decision has been reported by the White House as a sign of Obama's, "continuing commitment and leadership to find a global solution to the global threat of climate change," while reactions from other global leaders have been mixed.

United Nations climate chief Yvo de Boer told the Associated Press that Obama's appearance in Copenhagen will be, "a major boost to the conference," and that delegates are, "looking to the United States to come forward." Similar sentiments were shared by leaders from Denmark and Sweden.

Others have criticized Obama's plans as being more of a photo opportunity, as the president will be leaving the conference before the majority of other national leaders are scheduled to arrive.

"I think it's very positive that Obama announced he's coming to Copenhagen, but he's in fact coming at the wrong day. The high-level segment in Copenhagen is the 16th and 17th of December," Greenpeace International's European climate policy director Joris den Blanken told the Associated Press. "That's the moment where President Obama can negotiate..with European leaders like [German] Chancellor Merkel, President Sarkozy of France, Prime Minister Reinfeldt of Sweden. That's when it should happen."

At least 65 world leaders are expected to attend the Copenhagen summit, which will last from December 7 to 18. Delegates are expected at best to produce an outline for an agreement on climate change policy, which will be considered later next year.

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