WASHINGTON — Barack Obama is leading a "significant" change in US policy towards global warming, Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore said, days ahead of the US president's trip to the global climate summit in Copenhagen.
The White House said that Obama would be in Copenhagen on December 9 to offer to curb US emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, the first US plan to cut carbon emissions.
Gore, who won his Nobel in 2007 for work on climate change, said that Obama "took an important step" by announcing he would attend the Copenhagen talks.
"This action is another example of the significant change in policy on the climate crisis," said Gore on Wednesday.
"Those who feared that the United States had abdicated its global responsibility should take hope from these actions and work towards completing a strong operational agreement next month in Copenhagen and guidelines for negotiators to complete their work next year on a comprehensive treaty," he said.
Gore was US vice president to Democrat Bill Clinton from January 1993 to January 2001.
Gore's statement was in a White House press release that included praise for the president from members of Congress, business and environmental groups.
The former vice president said he hoped the US Senate will support Obama "and move quickly to pass climate and energy legislation early next year in order to ensure that the world moves toward speedy solutions for the climate crisis."
Gore, the 2000 Democratic Party White House contender -- he lost to Republican George W. Bush -- also starred in "An Inconvenient Truth," a film on global warming that won the 2007 Oscar for best documentary feature.
Among those commenting in the White House release was the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee and 2004 Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry, who said Obama's proposal "could be one hell of a global game changer with big reverberations here at home."
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