Danish Minister Hedegaard on Obama
Learning from Copenhagen
By Katherine Gregor,
9:40AM, Fri. Oct. 9, 2009
In an interview this morning about negotiations toward an ambitious, binding, global climate treaty at COP15, Danish Minister Connie Hedegaard took care to close by talking about Obama's importance. Her comments shed light on why the Norwegian Nobel Committee just selected Obama for the Nobel Peace Prize. She told a story
about how her teenage son here painted a big portrait of Barack Obama directly on his bedroom wall, when Obama became U.S. president. "There's a new youth generation, all over the world, that through this presidency has a lot of hopes for the USA," she observed. "It's fantastic that a new generation of youths worldwide have this new hope. And it's a fantastic opportunity to reinvent U.S. leadership in the world," she said pointedly, "to take a leading position again, through a new generation of youth" who believe in Obama's message.
On the upcoming climate agreement, said Minister Hedegaard, "What the rest of the world asks of the U.S. is just this: You must take your fair share of the responsibility. We understand the political situation," and that a compromise will be necessary.
"The biggest loser, if we don't get a common framework set, will be American business," she asserted. "It will be in the interests of American business to get an agreement. It's about economic and strategic and political leadership of the twenty-first century. That's what's at stake here – if the U.S. is going to be the leader of the world in the twenty-first century, or not."