The news that President Obama will seek a emissions target at global talks in Copenhagen has animated a once-moribund meeting and given hope to environmentalists that something tangible can come from them.
The emissions target, which Obama plans to announce “in the coming days,” will cement the President’s desire to get a legitimate climate bill through the US Senate, where the going has been painfully slow. A bipartisan effort between John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman seems to be the vehicle for a new deal. The target is expected to dovetail with the numbers that have been discussed on Capitol Hill – 17-20% below 2005 emissions levels by 2020.
In the last week, Obama has met with leaders in China and India, two of the largest emitters in the developing world. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated at a press conference today his commitment to a global plan for mitigating climate change. This commitment from India, as well as China, is seen as key to getting a deal in Copenhagen that is comprehensive.
Without a target going into Copenhagen, hopes of any agreement were bleak. Now the momentum has returned to the talks:
It has all been enough to cheer up the phlegmatic Yvo de Boer, who—as Executive Director of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change—is in charge of the talks. Last month he was sounding downbeat, but now he says: “There is no doubt in my mind that (the meeting) will yield a success.”
“Almost every day now we see new commitments and pledges from both industrialized and developing countries,” he added. “I am confident that the President of the United States can come to Copenhagen with targets and a financial commitment.”
Joe Romm has more.