President Obama might be in Oslo, but his trip next week to Copenhagen crept into his trip, perhaps as a preview to what world leaders are expecting from the US President next week.
In a brief press conference, both the Prime Minister of Norway and President Obama mentioned climate change, and Prime Minister Stoltenberg even went so far as to praise Obama for the cap and trade system "championed" by the Obama administration.
"We need a strong political agreement in Copenhagen and I briefed the President on the Norwegian-Mexican initiative on financing, which is a key issue in Copenhagen," Stoltenberg said. "Developed countries must provide more funding for climate action in the developing world. We need money both for the short term and the long term, and we need funding both from the public and from the private sector. The cap and trade system championed by your administration, Mr. President, is truly in keeping with our approach here in Norway. By capping emissions we reduce emissions and we put a price on carbon which is very, very important. This will bring strong incentives to develop new and cleaner technologies."
The talk of climate change as part of the opening statements by the two leaders was perhaps not what journalists were expecting, given the recent announcement by President Obama to commit more troops to Afghanistan, and the whole reason for his trip to Norway, to receive his Nobel Peace Prize. But, Obama embraced the topic.
"Something that obviously is pressing right now is the issue of climate change, and the Prime Minister and I discussed the ongoing meeting in Copenhagen, in which we're both strongly committed to a positive outcome," Obama said in his opening statement. "The United States has done a lot of work this year to transform the way we think about energy and our use back home, and to help to move international climate negotiations forward in an effective way. And I look forward to coming back this way next week during the leaders' summit that ends the conference."
President Obama had originally committed to attending the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference on his way to Oslo, but given the importance of the conference, and the fact that so many world leaders planned to attend near the end of the conference, the President changed his plans.
Obama took the opportunity to praise Norway and Brazil for the work they’ve done in protecting the Amazon rain forest.
“I'm very impressed with the model that has been built between Norway and Brazil that allows for effective monitoring and ensures that we are making progress in avoiding deforestation of the Amazon,” Obama said. “We all understand that it's probably the most cost-effective way for us to address the issue of climate change -- having an effective set of mechanisms in place to avoid further deforestation and hopefully to plant new trees.
Mr. Obama travels to Denmark December 18 to attend the Copenhagen Climate Change conference with 110 other world leaders.