Global environmental challenges
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.
A worldwide tree planting campaign is aiming to reach a total of 7 billion by the end of 2009 – that means just over one for everyone on the planet.
The United Nations says the campaign has exceeded expectations since it began in late 2006 with a goal of planting one billion within a year: two billion have been planted already. That means another 5 billion by late 2009.