Archive for October, 2009

Norwegian Wile

October 20th

In the weeks that have followed the announcement that President Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, there were no doubt moments when former Prime Minister Thorbjørn Jagland has wondered whether they did the right thing. The critics refuse to go away.

His question, won’t it be too late to respond 3 years from now? And his comment at the press conference when he asked, “who has done more to advance the cause of world peace?” expressed his logic and the reasoning of his fellow board members. Since then he has been attacked from many sides, most recently in the Wall Street Journal.

But whether or not the Nobel Peace Prize should have been awarded to the American President only a few months into his Presidency (even President Obama said that he was not sure that he had yet earned a place among the transformational figures who have been awarded the prize), it does raise some interesting questions.

In recent weeks the question of Copenhagen has had to play a much bigger role in the conversations at Rahm Emanuel’s conference table where Presidential schedules are planned. No, not the trip to Copenhagen to make the pitch for Chicago’s bid to host the Olympics, the trip that would outline the U.S. position toward a global Climate Change treaty. Would the President go? Would the Chinese and the Indians do enough to make a US response necessary?

In early October 2009 there are many voices seeking to anticipate or even to influence the Climate Change policy debate. Many are predicting that there will not be the kind of global policy that had been anticipated. Nor do most people think that the US Congress, embroiled in debates over health care, could turn to passage of the Cap and Trade bill that would set US Climate change policy.

And now, President Obama will be going to Oslo on December 10th to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

The website of the Norwegian delegation to the Council of Europe where former Prime Minister Jagland presides, there is an interesting note. “In its awards to Wangari Maathai in 2004 and to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore in 2007, the Nobel Committee has indicated that its concept of peace now also embraces efforts to limit the harm done by man-made climate change and threats to the environment.” There is no question that they have their eye on the Copenhagen Climate Change conference as well.

Back to Mr. Emanuel’s conference table where the ghost of former Prime Minister Jagland now has a place. Can the President skip Copenhagen and then go to Oslo? Tricky question indeed.