President Obama will attend U.N. global warming negotiations in Copenhagen on Dec. 9, according to a White House aide.
The White House also confirmed today that Obama will propose that the United States plans to curb its emissions by 2020 in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels — which is the same as the thresholds in the House-passed climate bill.
The question of what percentage to embrace is a tricky one. Anything lower than the House version would be seen as a betrayal by House members; while Senate members may bridle if they feel that negotiations over the amount are being foreclosed. “In the range of 17 percent” seems like a carefully diplomatic solution.
By agreeing to attend, Obama has also raised the ante. The U.S. will be under increased pressure to make sure that something significant comes out of the meeting.