In case you missed the big news in the wake of your Thanksgiving celebration, President Obama is, in fact, planning to travel to Copenhagen next month to deliver a speech and participate in the United Nations Climate Change Conference! Armed with a tentative plan and an emissions reduction target for the US, Obama’s trip is a great sign of leadership and a chance to achieve a global commitment towards reducing the effects of climate change. Now this is truly something to be thankful for!

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Obama plans to travel to Copenhagen on Dec. 9th near the beginning of the conference, where he will deliver a speech to the delegates about the US’s commitment counteracting climate change. The President will propose an emissions reduction target for the US of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. This also includes a 30% reduction by 2025, a 42% reduction by 2030, and an 83% reduction in 2050.  As the White House says, “This provisional target is in line with current legislation in both chambers of Congress and demonstrates a significant contribution to a problem that the U.S. has neglected for too long.”

After his speech to the delegation, President Obama will travel on to Oslo, Norway to accept the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10th. Some may argue that a 17% reduction target is not aggressive enough, but the fact that Obama is attending will spur on the talks and encourage the world to come to agreement quicker. The White House also says, “With less than two weeks to go until the beginning of the Copenhagen conference, it is essential that the countries of the world, led by the major economies, do what it takes to produce a strong, operational agreement that will both launch us on a concerted effort to combat climate change and serve as a stepping stone to a legally binding treaty.”

Additionally, a host of Cabinet secretaries and other top officials, like Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, will attend the conference and give speeches, adding legitimacy to the efforts of the US as well as spurring on the discussions to achieve an agreement.

Via The White House

Photos from The White House