Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama rescheduled his trip to climate-change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, so that he can help push for a possible deal closer to the end of the meeting, his spokesman said Monday.
White House Secretary Robert Gibbs told journalists that recent signals of new commitments by China and India created possible momentum toward an agreement at the U.N.-led climate change talks that started Monday and are scheduled to conclude on December 18.
Obama initially planned to visit the Copenhagen talks on Wednesday, the day before he receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. Instead, the president will go to Copenhagen on December 18, at the end of the talks.
"I think everybody agrees that we are in a better position - I mean, we, globally - to get some sort of agreement out of Copenhagen," Gibbs said. "And the president believed, having helped to work both in enunciating our commitments as well as ensuring that the Indians and the Chinese talked about their commitments, that we could move that (Obama's trip) to the end of the conference, when some agreement is likely to need some help from world leaders."
Negotiators representing almost 200 countries are trying to reach agreement in Copenhagen on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the first global climate change treaty that expires in 2012.
Obama's initial plan to attend only the beginning of the conference was criticized by some, including the environmental activist group Greenpeace, which said it was more important that he be there at the end of the meeting.
Divisions between industrial powers such as the United States and major emerging economies such as China and India on commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions have threatened to undermine the Copenhagen talks.