December 17th, 2009
02:57 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama committed to going to climate summit

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Millions of children and young adults are in school studying science as a career which is great. If we kill the study of global warming which is real, then will kill our childrens' future in the study of science.

    December 17, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. Steph

    I love it when the small government tea-baggers post comments saying the president isn't doing anything. Do you want a president like Dubya who refused to worry his little head about rumors like global warming (and finishing wars, and those guys at Gitmo, and two years of job losses, and people dying or going bankrupt because they have no health insurance, and bankers who ruin out entire financial system)? OR do you want a president who is working every single day to make this country better? I choose the latter.

    December 17, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. mike from louisville

    The democratic throngs of De' Fuerher march on despite the mounting evidence otherwise. You Democrats are your own worst enemy. You must live by the saying "I reject reality and substitute my own, despite the evidence" .... the earth is actually cooling over the last 7+ years!!! ........ Yea, I know, you refuse that evidence too. I rest my case!

    December 17, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. lsinger

    If China will not reconsider, will the President asked to borrow the money he will need to finance all his spending plans on climate change?

    December 17, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. Andy

    It's so nice the great one is committed to go. Like all good liberals, intention is more important than results. Why doesn't he spend his precious time working with businesses across the country to create jobs rather than condemning them for trying to earn a profit and stay in business.

    December 17, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. T'SAH from Virginia

    Why is EVERYONE complaining about the president's travels???? All presidents travel!!!! Didn't the OTHER presidents go to the SUMMIT??? Why is President Obama being BADGERED by so many when we are ALL Americans and supposed to stand for the SAME THING!!

    President Obama – do what you are supposed to do; do what you want to do; do what you were cut out to do; do what you have promised to do and do what that FREAKING RepubliCAN’Ts could NOT do and WE will stick by YOU!!!!!

    December 17, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. AJ in Austin TX

    These global warming summits are the golden globes of science. everyone wants to see and be seen. If they were really serious about so called 'global warming', they'd do one big tele-conference and spare the Earth all of that bad CO2. The irony is that obama will arrive in Copenhagen with over four inches of snow!

    December 17, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Jimmy James

    When Air Force one travels, it has a 2nd one as back up that travels with it. So that's 2 747-200's burning thousands of pounds of fuel. Add in the C17's that transport the secret service weeks in advance and days in advance and you got thousands and thousands of more fuel burned. Add in the smaller transport jets and autos and that's a huge carbon footprint. He has never heard of telecommuting? Practice what you preach. Hypocrites like Al Gore travel the world in private jets and limos telling us to conserve and live a minimalist life style. Oh and Gore is making hundreds of millions of dollars in his ponzi scheme selling carbon credits. People think religious people are nutjobs that follow blindly. Global Warming, err correction ( the earth has cooled so they can't say warming, has to be change. Oooh! " Change". Where have I heard that keypoint before?) , Climate change is a bigger fraud than religion

    December 17, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    This is a trip thats going to cost America out the gazoo because no other overseas country wants to help foot the bill for this ghost hunt .

    December 17, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. Sharp2

    This President needs to stay home and get to work. I had so much respect for Obama when he became President. Now I am completely disappointed. He goes everywhere to say he is sorry we are such a bad country and pledges to make sure we "terrible" Americans continue to give money to needy countries as we have always done. Bad America!

    December 17, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Someone please take away Obama's cheque-book and credit cards before he gets on the plane! The last thing this country needs is for the Wastrel-in-Chief to be handing out American taxpayers' money to everyone on the planet.

    December 17, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. Liberla wingnut

    Just another speech opportunity...

    December 17, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. Ben

    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."

    Yeah, with nothing but fake data to back up his and his administrations claims. That's some leadership we've got there. NOT!

    December 17, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. RealityKing

    Obama is a mindless progressive liberal, so of course he is committed to going.., and further lie about the granduer of his other unfullfilled commitments..

    December 17, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. Jeremy

    It seems that Obama's flying to Copenhagen and Oslo for speeches and awards on private planes and Air Force One burn up quite a lot of fuel and create quite a bit of CO2. He speaks about what we have to do about changing things and that we have to change for the better of the world, yet he goes in private planes and SUV's that churn up more CO2 than the average American does on a daily basis. It seems like hypocrisy to me. He tells us to change yet will not make the change himself. It surprises me greatly that he still has his little flock of sheep willing to believe everything he says and bash those who disagree as racist, right wing, braindead, religious members of the "Party of No". NASA scientists found out a year ago that global warming is mostly caused by changes of the sun's activity such as sunspots, not CO2. This report comes from a government agency, not a right-wing organization, so even the liberals can believe it. Besides, has anyone noticed that it has been colder these past few months than ever before, or is it just me? This seems like more of a power play to me: they want a worldwide governing body to oversee this and have them instate rules in place that will change our lives forever. I guess that some people would not give a hoot about this, but I do. I do not want a worldwide government telling me what to do. The U.S. government does that enough. I am tired of this so-called "change"/hypocrisy that the American people voted for just one short year ago. If this is what they want, 2010 and 2012 cannot come soon enough so we can vote these fools who support this out of office.

    December 17, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. Jane/Seattle

    America: Stop trying to be every other Nation's Bossman! Tend to your own matters of importance. In case you have not noticed, America is a MESS! Sex predators all over the streets, So-called "minorities" in your Prisons, Children suffering and dying, Seniors not eating well unto death, Most monies skimmed for administration and salaries in all areas, and the list goes on and on and on! Who said the government doesn't run well? They all manage to get our taxes in salaries rather efficiently!

    This is why I trust so few of these so-called "leaders"! Why not try to bring our jobs back to America and decrease their "Pollution" in these other countries? Stop borrowing from them, too. Stop this Warfare and Empire cultivation. Close or downsize most of these many U.S. bases all over the Globe. Finally, STOP CREATING "TERRORISTS" (FOLKS WHOSE FAMILIES YOU ARE KILLING) AND YOU WON'T HAVE SO MANY TO FIGHT! Then the World and China might give a hoot what you all say TO THEM! Lead by example not Words! As they say, Talk IS Cheap! American rhetoric is getting Tedious and is being Exposed for just what it is! Dominating, Controlling and engaged in Robbery! Peace

    December 17, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. Jim

    sheesh ... listen to all the pathetic whining right wingers, here, trying to say obama isn't doing anything, hasn't accomplished anything, only wants a photo op and such.

    and, yet, all the republicans can do is shout and scream "NO NO NO NO ... "

    the truth is that obama is doing things and getting things accomplished even when the republicans stamp their widdle feet trying to stop him at every point.

    I am disgusted by the republican's actions and it's very likely I'll never vote for one again.

    when will they just try ... just try ... to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.

    December 17, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. Nancy

    The fact that we have such idiotic world leaders who can't reach an agreement on the most important issue today (OUR EXISTENCE!!!) is beyond me. The fact that there are people in this world who are denying global warming (including the GOP nuts) is despicable.
    Some people on this forum always whine about lack of money to do this or lack of money to do that. You don't seem to have any problem spending money on war. However, when it comes to our planet, you just continue whine.

    President Obama, I hope and pray for the sake of all of us in this beautiful planet that you won't come back empty handed.

    December 17, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  19. mjm

    Michael December 17th, 2009 3:38 pm ET

    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.

    Just like a lib to miss the point. Nobody denies global warming. The question is man's contribution to global warming. Global warming is caused by the sun burning brighter at times. Carbon dioxide has NOTHING to do with it. The earth was hotter 500 years ago and I'm pretty sure we had nothing to do with it. Right now the earth is cooling, not warming.

    This is just another scam to take over one industry in favor of another.

    You brain-dead libs think you can control the sun? Sucker.

    December 17, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Billy Bathgate

    Of course he'll go...

    This man will never pass on an excuse for a ride in the spiffy Air Force 1 and a free buffet.

    I just can't figure out why he, Al Gore, et al, can't just spare the environment and use the internet.

    After all Al invented it so he should know how to use it.

    December 17, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. dustbunny

    You say the right wing brain dead say there is no gobal warming. That is NOT what is being said. There may very well be gobal warming, but it is not man made. It is just mother nature doing her thing, as she has done since the earth was born. Man can not change or control the climate.

    December 17, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. Speaking for Liberals

    There are a lot of negative comments on this story. I would consider some of your points to be valid if they were not so laced with venom, hate and ignorance.
    From the very beginning the Conservative Right has made there disdain and hate for this man and everything he represents vocal. Your rhetoric proves that we would NEVER be able to do anything right in your eyes.
    Your organization (The GOP) has clearly stated their desire for him to fail in all that he attempts to do and they have acted on this desire, doing everything they can to stop every endeavor. Unfortunately, he is attempting to repair a country that is been left in general disarray.
    As a result, none of your comments are valid.

    December 17, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. Eisener

    Thank you for keeping hope alive Mr. President. This is the single most important issue facing our country both from an aspect of the financial future and the security of our nation.

    December 17, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. Eric from MI

    climate gate......cover it cnn, are will it make some constituant of yours look bad...blame it on hackers like the scientists did lol what a joke

    December 17, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Bill from Illinois

    How could the earth have been "actually cooling over the past seven years". When 3 of the last four years have been the hottest on record.
    It is a joke some wingnut conservative says liberals have no grasp on reality while simutaniously spewing lies. Conservatives would make good used car salesmen.

    December 17, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
1 2 3