Al Gore, Optimist

Former VP offers up his opinion on an Obama appearance in Copenhagen

This page was published 14 years ago. Find the latest on Earthjustice’s work.

Speculation abounds as to whether President Barack Obama will travel to Copenhagen this December to personally participate in international global warming negotiations, though many have expressed doubt about the likelihood (and value) of an Obama appearance without legislation from Congress in his back pocket.

Well, today, former veep and contrarian of conventional wisdom Al Gore told the German weekly magazine, Der Spiegel that he expects President Obama will indeed be there: "He hasn’t told me that he will, and no one representing him has told me that he will. But I see the calendar, I see unfolding of events and I feel certain he will go."

Gore’s no soothsayer, but he’s certainly got experience reading political tea leaves. California Sen. Barbara Boxer plans to begin marking up the Kerry-Boxer global warming bill in her Environment and Public Works Committee tomorrow, regardless of whether committee Republicans show up. Gore told Der Spiegel he expects added provisions for nuclear and substitutions of natural gas for coal will help move the bill up the legislative ladder, possibly to a point where it can be useful leverage in the negotiations. Additionally, Gore knows Obama will be in the neighborhood Dec. 10 (in Oslo, Norway) to accept the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded in early October.

Gore’s word is no guarantee. But if Obama does make the trip to Copenhagen, let us all hope he’s got a better pitch in hand than the one he made on his last trip to the Danish capital. Sorry, Chicago. 

What do you think? Will President Obama attend the Copenhagen negotiations, and, if he does, will his presence be beneficial? 

Sam Edmondson was a campaign manager on air toxics issues from 2010 until 2012. He helped organize the first 50 States United for Healthy Air event. His desire to work at an environmental organization came from the belief that if we don't do something to change our unsustainable ways, we are in big trouble.