Will Nobel Prize also take Obama to Copenhagen climate talks?

October 9, 2009

The surprise award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama just nine months into his presidency on Friday may put pressure on him to visit a 190-nation meeting on a new U.N. climate treaty in Copenhagen.

The prize will be handed over in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of the award’s founder Alfred Nobel, and the U.N. talks will run in Copenhagen from Dec. 7-18. It takes about an hour to fly between the two Scandinavian capitals.

And the Norwegian Nobel Committee heaped praise on Obama, including his climate policies, in its citation.

“Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting,” the secretive five-member committee said.

 Some Norwegian politicians said they hoped the award would stiffen Obama’s resolve to push the U.S. Senate to pass early legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the years to 2020.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush dropped efforts to get the Senate to ratify the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol, a pact adopted by all other industrialised nations for curbing greenhouse gas emissions until 2012. Obama wants the United States to have a bigger role in a new global treaty to be agreed in Copenhagen.

Environmental group Greenpeace said Obama should visit Copenhagen.

“In accepting the award in Oslo on 10th December President Obama has an incredible opportunity, and responsibility, to then travel to the UN Copenhagen Climate Summit to help avert climate chaos and conflict,” Greenpeace’s International Executive Director Gerd Leipold said in a statement.

And Denmark’s Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard also expressed hopes that Obama would come to Copenhagen: “It’s hard to imagine that he will be receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Dec. 10th and then come empty-handed to Copenhagen a week later.” 

And what a difference a week makes — the award of one of the world’s top accolades in Oslo is a stunning turnaround just a week after Obama went to Copenhagen and suffered a defeat by unsuccessfully lobbying for Chicago to get the 2016 Olympic Games.

But a problem is that the first week of the Copenhagen talks will be run only by senior government bureaucrats — environment ministers from around the world are due to turn up only from Dec. 16 to decide on a new pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. 

So, to have the most impact on the negotiations, should Obama go for a few days’ vacation skiing in Scandinavia after collecting the Nobel Prize before travelling to Copenhagen?

(Picture credits: top – U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and first lady Michelle Obama arrive for an event to look at the stars with local middle school students and astronomers from across the country on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, October 7, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young. Right: The Nobel Peace Prize medal awarded to South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu)


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Here’s an article I wrote inspired by Obama’s peace award. “Early on in Obama’s presidential campaign I recognized the president’s ability to “script his success” (something my clients know all so well). He knew the power of his own media, broadcasting his vision, goals, commitment despite what “reality” seemingly dictated. Obama was able to focus his message on what was working and successful in his own life and inspire hope and powerful intentions around the world. That’s why it was no surprise he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.” READ MORE.

Posted by Ruth Anne Wood | Report as abusive

Nobel priz to presidency Barak Obama is very inportant becouse he is a right person and he can work hard to peace for all the world wide.
thanks for my country Norway and to my people
and to the nobel priz presidency
Andom Beraki Gebresselassie
tel 004797018372

Posted by andom | Report as abusive

[…] The prize can also be used as a tool for progressives to help turn Obama’s words into actions. The rhetoric surrounding Copenhagen and global warming, not to mention torture and Gitmo, comes to mind. And of course, this is a […]

Posted by Obama | Report as abusive

Just when I thought norwegian mentality could not sink any lower they proved me wrong. Norway should hide her head in shame, they are the joke of the world as well is the Nobel Peace prize.

Posted by Nautilus1 | Report as abusive

Our drive-buy media here in the USA is giving the world the wrong message of this man. Most people I know, liberal and conservative were shocked at this choice. What has he done to deserve this reward. Wake up people from other countries and dont believe the praise you here about Obama. He is going to ruin this country. It is already happening. Get informed.

Posted by ashley | Report as abusive

What a JOKE!!! Mr. Nobel is turning in his grave.
Abroad and at home, other then lip service he has provided NOTHING! If “HOPE” rather then the RESULTS, is the reason for such award, then why in the other categories selecting process of others, they didn’t use just that?
One may wonder if marketing his version of MARXISM and LENINISM idealistic agenda now overseas will continue, or will his focus stay here with as and VERY JOBLESS US market?

Posted by ski1 | Report as abusive

Maybe by giving President Obama this award all they are saying is give peace a chance. I will stand behind My president and my country and the world in the hopes of achieving this goal.

Posted by jimbo | Report as abusive

I read the news about Mr. Obama Nobel price in newspaper. On the same page there was a news that US Air force is testing a new 13.500 kg bomb. Is that ironic or it is ironic?

Posted by Marc | Report as abusive

Obama is a great candidate for receiving it, but he should have been given it after the first term, at least. But what irks and infuriates me is that, of all people, Mahatma Gandhi never won the prize, though nominated numerous times!! So, I have no respect for The Nobel Prize. Its credibility suffered long time ago. The Nobel Committee seems to be jumping on the bandwagon, patronizing people just to score some points. :(

Posted by George Stewart | Report as abusive

Let me just express my opinion over the “by how much” factor when considering cutting greenhouse emissions. It might not be how much we can cut ours, or look how much every other country is cutting theirs. We need to just reduce them. Not by 80% or 46% or whatever. Not every country is built the same, and not every country can go about reducing CO2 emissions in the exact same fashion with the exact same results.

I think what is important is that we set our own goals and simply follow through on them, screw the Kyoto Protocol, the Copenhagen Talks, lets just do it. I feel like that is how the United States came to be such a BOSS, we just did what we needed to do and owned.

Just a college perspective.

Posted by Sean | Report as abusive