President Obama will speak at the Copenhagen climate talks on December 9. Six U.S. cabinet secretaries and head of the EPA will attend the full conference.
Obama's presence will be early in the meeting, before the nitty-gritty negotiations talk place. That has alreasdy drawn sniping from other nations. There will be much argument in the U.S. over the potential cost of cutting emissions if that actually becomes more than a talking point and is enacted as law or regulation.
Obama will pledge the U.S. will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17%, that's taking the 2005 level and reducing it before 2020. That 17% is the exact number in the energy and climate bill passed by the House last spring, Waxman-Markey. The bills debated in Senate committees actually have a slightly higher level of cuts.
One of the key debate points in the U.S. Congress: will India and China make any cuts or will the U.S. act alone and thus hamper American industry in competing with India and China? At this point China says it will NOT offer up binding emission cuts as most of the damage to the climate has come from developed nations.
In addition many under-developed nations at Copenhagen are going to be looking for payments from wealthier nations. Nominally this would go to developing alternative energy and energy efficiency, within the usual limits of each country's corruption level which can vary widely.
Overall this will be encouraging to alternative energy firms and their investors. Today the Cleantech Stock index was up. The NASDAQ Clean Edge Index has been climbing for the past two quarters.
This could also put the focus of many environmental groups on China and India. Perhaps boycotts? Both nations are heavily dependent on exports to Europe and the U.S.