December 17th, 2009
02:57 PM ET
11 months ago

Obama committed to going to climate summit

Obama committed to going to climate summit.
Obama committed to going to climate summit.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama will travel to Copenhagen,Denmark, Thursday evening to attend the U.N. Climate Conference as planned,despite growing uncertainty that the talks will lead to an agreement, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

"The president is going to travel in hopes of making progress for a strong operational agreement" on climate change, Gibbs said. "There are no changes in the president's plans."

The statement came amid rumors from Copenhagen that Obama would not come if talks deteriorated and it appeared no agreement could be reached.U.S. officials in Copenhagen and at the White House confirmed talks brokedown Wednesday after the Chinese delegation rejected U.S. demands that China, along with other nations, be required to provide "transparency" - proving a commitment to cutting emissions.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday morning in Copenhagen that "we have presented and discussed numerous approaches to
transparency with a number of countries and there are many ways to achieve transparency which would be credible and acceptable. But there has to be a willingness to move towards transparency in whatever form we finally determine is appropriate. So if there is not even a commitment to pursue transparency, that's kind of a deal breaker for us."


Gibbs said the Chinese "balked" at the "strong transparency requirement,"though he "hoped that they would reconsider."

The Obama administration is trying to lower expectations for the president's visit. The last time he traveled to Copenhagen - in October to try to win the 2012 Olympic bid for Chicago - he came back empty-handed. Regarding this trip, Gibbs said, "coming back with an empty agreement would be far worse than coming back empty-handed."

The agreement Obama is hoping for out of Copenhagen would not be a treaty, nor would it be legally binding. Gibbs acknowledged it would be "a political agreement that would lead to a treaty" later.


Filed under: Copenhagen • President Obama
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Paul from Phoenix

    I wonder what the carbon footprint of his trip will be. Lets see, a couple of private planes, multiple suvs for transportation, I doubt he will carpool with anyone.

    December 17, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Stick to your guns Mr. President and go to the summit.

    On another topic, where is the article of the 16 militants killed in Pakistan by a Predator? 10 hellfire missles rained down on the enemies head.

    December 17, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. Obama Victim

    Obama is all hat and no cattle.....a waste of time...there will be no agreement...another huge defeat and embarassment for this loser...can you say "one and gone??

    December 17, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    I don't think is a big deal at all. Maybe somewhat important for the long run but short term, may be taken out of context.

    I don't think is China but also India as well. I guess those two are arguably one of the fastest growing super powers as of now. Even I admit, I don't know as much about "Climate Change" or "Global Warming". With all the bickery and talk, is either we are responsble or not, or not a part off.

    I even seen some scientific evidence regarding how it is affected but this is still an old-school planet. I don't think people in general wanna know or hear what plans or solutions we need to make in order to make our planet cleaner. If people really want to, then is their choice. If people wanna be independently, environmentally and consciously aware of it, then is safe to say they will. All we know is recycling, that's it. Other than that, we're still using cords(whole lot of cords) to heat our stove, our fridge, our lights, T.V's, game system's, etc. Maybe some knowledge and recognition can be helpful but like I said, not some, all the people gotta be on the same page.

    But don't think the voyage is as important, maybe a little bit but not as of now.

    December 17, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. seebofubar

    Good...I think Obama should be committed, permenently.

    December 17, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. Dominican Mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Yes, go to the summit Mr. President. It appears that you are in a growing minority of smart politicians that actually let common sense and informed input govern your decisions. Go to the summit and come back with firsthand information as to what is going to be done vis-a-vis our planet that is under attack by Rethuglicans and Big Business alike.

    December 17, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. Rickster

    "Copenhagen conference 'has failed'......gee, what a surprise that something that Obama is involved in has failed considering he has failed at:
    *his stimulus program
    *his cash for clunkers program
    *his promise to cut spending(lol)
    *his promise of transparency
    *his attacks on Rush Limbaugh & Fox News
    *his bid to bring the olympics to the U.S.
    *his program to combat the h1n1 flu
    *his promise of no earmarks
    *his efforts to partner with Russia & China on Iran/N Korea
    *his administration appointments(aka: The FBI's Most Wanted List)

    And what has he accomplished? His campaign logo....zero.

    December 17, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. SocialismBad

    Did anybody REALLY expect Obama to not go over there and have his picture taken and be the center of attention. It seems to be all he craves.

    It's just wonderful that he is ready to give away $100 BILLION to other countries for NOTHING IN RETURN. Just more of the same old "redistributing the wealth" or "social justice".

    Did he get permission from the Chinese to spend their money this way?

    December 17, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. Carl Abernathy

    There's no transparency in the US government at any level, even though made as a big-time promise by the Empty Suit in the white house (BEFORE he was elected).

    December 17, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Eric in Denver

    American People- Barack you do realize that we are going bankrupt and that the unemployment rate is over 10% yet you feel you need to go to Copenhagen for this bogus occasion?

    Barack- People you do realize that this country will go bankrupt if we don't address climate change. Did you not listen to Al Bore's ridiculous poem yesterday on TV? It talked about floating continents. Harry Smith was getting a tingling up and down his leg.

    American People Isn't it a bad decision to waste jet fuel and limo fuel when we are trying to send a message to the world

    Barack- Don't worry we can use carbon offsets.

    American People- Don't you think we have more important things to do to help our country out of this bad situation?

    Barack- We are an oppresive country. I am sorry to all of you and to all the other countries for our bad behavior over the years

    GET THE POINT!!!!!

    December 17, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. shmeckel

    Why does everyone jump on one bandwagon or another? They either jump on board with the Climate change scientists or they jump on board with the skeptic scientists. They never try to pin down both sides and get some REAL answers before making huge changes to our society.

    December 17, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Greg in California

    Pres. Obama in Copenhagen or Washington: pomp and circumstance, adoring crowds, sycophantic media coverage, great speech, and then everyone goes home with their problems unchanged.

    December 17, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Dave

    Of course he is. He has his marching orders. A mere pawn this man is.

    December 17, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Jon

    3 years to go then we can get a working President on the issues.

    December 17, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Tina

    I thought Obama just flew to get his Nobel price, now he will fly again? What's up with the gas burnt by airforce plane? This president is life a wolf, he pretends he is a sheep but deep inside is something else. Like an onion, the more you peel its skin that more it makes you cry that you have to wash your face off and hands. I will definitely wash my hands off from this Obama this 2012. No more votes form me.

    December 17, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. BLM

    More begging with hat in hand to the Euro lefties. How did this guy get elected.

    December 17, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. George

    I think he should go to congress. We sure need a Republican climate change. All the hot air and bull crap coming from the GNOPers is bound to aid in global warming. Their hate could melt many icebergs.

    December 17, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. Michael

    While the brain-dead right says there is no such thing as global warming, our President not only acknowledges the problem- but tries to do something about it.

    December 17, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. sifto77

    Maybe the climate people led by the "one and Only" Al Gore will forbid him to fly back due to too much carbon emission–he didn't buy his share of the chits....we can only hope....

    December 17, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. mjm

    He's going to put the exclamation mark on "FAILED".

    If he goes, does that mean Rio get's global warming?

    December 17, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. Typical Republican

    I've been practicing. I think I am as good as the rest of my republican friends in responding to these kinds of stories. Let me give it a try:

    1) Complaint about something completely unrelated
    2) Retarded comment, usually a conspiracy theory that is with out any truth and has no footing in the realm of reality
    3) Something about hating people in this country
    4) A slam on someone that isn't even mentioned in the story
    5) A call to arms and domestic violence
    6) A cry for help disguised as a blatant disregard for the facts
    7) Affirmation that I hate my president
    8) A claim to love america

    and 9) Forgetting everything I just said and doing the complete opposite when I get off the computer.

    See, I am now a republican. I have passed the low standards test as required to enter the party of idiots.

    December 17, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. jeff jackson, alabama

    Where's the story on The Republicans ideas of
    lowering the cost of health care with some good
    common sense regulation of health care charges
    and insurance cost ?
    Why are these stories being kept from American
    viewers ? When a democrat burps we all know it.

    December 17, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. phoenix86

    2 years and 11 months until Obama is officially a lame duck. 11 months until Nancy is no longer Speaker and Harry Reid is no longer in the Senate.

    The future is looking brighter already.

    December 17, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. GI Joe

    Gosh – he works more days in a row than Bush and gets whacked by the wingnuts.

    He flies LESS than Bush and gets whacked by the wingnuts.

    Go figure.

    December 17, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. strong

    I guess Mr. Obama has never been to Copenhagen.

    Now is the perfect time to go on our dime, of course.. His passport must be full of stamps from all these countries , assuming he does have a passport? (an American passport .... ?)

    December 17, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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