U.S. President Barack Obama is shifting the timing of his visit to an international climate summit in Copenhagen as prospects for a political agreement at the event seem more likely.
The U.S., India and China all have specific proposals on the table for the first time, and world leaders are aiming for a deal that includes commitments on reducing emissions and financing for developing countries. They no longer expect to reach a legally binding agreement, as had long been the goal.
Mr. Obama is hoping to capitalise on steps by India and China and build a more meaningful political accord, said the White House.
The move means Mr. Obama will be at the summit on December 18, considered a crucial period when more leaders will be in attendance, as opposed to his scheduled stop in Denmark on Wednesday on his way to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.
It also means that Mr. Obama will be squeezing in a separate, 10th foreign trip before Christmas — a record pace of travel for a first-year President — as a means to giving momentum to a deal aimed at combating global warming.
Mr. Obama will now leave for Oslo late Wednesday, attend Nobel events on Thursday and return to Washington on Friday.
The President had said that he would travel to the Copenhagen conference if his appearance would help clinch a deal. His decision to go early to the two-week meeting had been seen by many as a sign that an agreement was still a long shot.