Washington: US President Barack Obama has abruptly altered the timing of his upcoming appearance at an international climate summit in Copenhagen, hoping to capitalise on steps by India and China and build a more meaningful political accord, a White House official said.
The move means Obama will be at the summit on December 18, considered a crucial period when more leaders will be in attendance, as opposed to his scheduled stop in Denmark on Wednesday on his way to Nobel Peace Prize events in Oslo.
It also means that Obama will be squeezing in a separate, 10th foreign trip before Christmas - a record pace of travel for a first-year president - as a means to giving momentum to a deal aimed at combating global warming.
Obama will now leave for Oslo late Wednesday, attend Nobel events Thursday and return to Washington on Friday.
The official would speak only on condition of anonymity because Obama's plans had not yet been announced.
Obama had said that he would travel to the Copenhagen conference if his appearance would help clinch a deal. His decision to go early to the two-week meeting was looked upon by many as a sign that an agreement was still a long shot.
But now with the US, India and China all with specific proposals on the table for the first time, a political agreement seems more likely.
India pledged on Thursday to significantly slow the growth of its carbon emissions over the next decade. China announced its own targets for cutting carbon emissions last week, a day after Obama announced the US goals.
First Published: Saturday, December 05, 2009, 09:22