Will he or won't he? That's the question that people worldwide have been asking regarding whether US President Barack Obama will go to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) scheduled for December 7-18, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. All indications are that the answer is Yes, He Will.
In an interview Monday with Reuters news agency, Obama said
"if I am confident that all of the countries involved are bargaining in good faith and we are on the brink of a meaningful agreement and my presence in Copenhagen will make a difference in tipping us over edge then certainly that's something that I will do."
My bet is that he will. In fact, barring some major incident that keeps him at home, I think he will make a point of going to show that world that the US is serious in its desire to take a leadership role in developing solutions to climate change. It is important that he demonstrate that the noise coming from the Republican minority will not stop the US from setting caps on greenhouse gas emissions, even if climate change legislation doesn't make it through the Senate before the meeting in Copenhagen.
Progress has been slow, both in the US and the international community. The previously hoped for major breakthrough agreement is now a distant memory, but there is optimism that COP15 will result in a "framework" agreement. According to President Obama in his Reuters interview,
"I think the question is can we create a set of principles, building blocks, that allow for ongoing and continuing progress on the issue and that's something I'm confident we can achieve."
He also continues talks with China, who with the US make up the two largest emitters in the world, and remains confident that they can agree on a framework that will then be the basis for additional efforts.
So we will see. But my bet is on Obama being in Copenhagen in the chill of winter.