Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Barack Obama's road to Copenhagen ends in Oslo for most of the US media

US press pack will have to make do with reporting from Norway, as Danish capital runs out of room
Suzanne Goldenberg
guardian.co.uk, Monday 30 November 2009 17.11 GMT

Only the other day Barack Obama was being applauded for breaking the deadlock at the Copenhagen climate change summit. The White House confirmed last week that Obama would commit to reducing America's greenhouse gas emissions, and would drop in on the meeting on his way to Oslo where he is to receive the Nobel peace prize.
There was relief around the globe. America's failure to set a target for reducing emissions had been seen as the greatest single obstacle to reaching a strong political agreement at Copenhagen. Obama's stopover in Copenhagen on December 9 was also welcomed - although the timing means the president will not join other world leaders in actually sealing a climate change agreement at the end of the two-week meeting.
Even so, the White House was so pleased by the positive response to the announcement that it even interrupted the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to point reporters to press reaction.
"On climate change, the president demonstrated America's commitment to global action, while at the same time convinced key countries like China and India to pledge to take mitigation actions to reduce their carbon emissions. This progress is a result of the president's recent trip to Asia, and his policy of global engagement," the release said on Saturday.
But all that praise is still not enough to guarantee an actual hotel room in Copenhagen, the White House learned to its chagrin.
The White House travel office said today it could only provide accommodation in Copenhagen for the dozen or so reporters who will be in the presidential press pool. The White House charter flight, carrying the rest of the reporters, will only stop in Oslo for the Nobel ceremony.
Everything else was booked up long ago. The US government delegation alone is reported to include some 600 officials.
"It's not that we don't want people to be there," a travel office spokeswoman said, "but we've heard that the closest hotel rooms are in Oslo."