The US President has ended weeks of speculation and nay-saying by confirming he does plan to attend the UN climate talks in Copenhagen next month.
Barack Obama has also outlined his intention to commit the USA to modest carbon cuts over coming years.
A statement issued by the Whitehouse on Wednesday, November 25 says he will be bringing to the table a proposal to cut US emissions by somewhere in the region of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.
Commentators have pointed out that his powers to deliver on this commitment are far from certain, but his stated intention will nevertheless act as a rallying call for talks that had been dismissed by many as likely to fail.
"With less than two weeks to go until the beginning of the Copenhagen conference, it is essential that the countries of the world, led by the major economies, do what it takes to produce a strong, operational agreement that will both launch us on a concerted effort to combat climate change and serve as a stepping stone to a legally binding treaty," said the statement.
"The President is working closely with Congress to pass energy and climate legislation as soon as possible."
Decoded, the statement means the President wants to see the US working towards targets before planned legislation that will put a cap and trade system in place can be passed and put into action.
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