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President Barack Obama speaks during a plenary session at the Bella Center in Copenhagen -- December 18, 2009 - 


Steve Chiotakis: The U.N. summit concludes later today in Copenhagen. World leaders are there trying to come up with a deal to combat climate change. President Obama arrived a short time ago, and Marketplace's Stephen Beard is with us live from the Danish capital to report on that and more. Hi, Stephen.

Stephen Beard: Hello, Steve.

Chiotakis: So Mr. Obama addressed the conference this morning, and what did he say?

Beard: He said, and he was addressing his fellow leaders, we are here because climate change poses a grave and growing danger. This is not fiction, he said, it is science. But, he said, our ability to take collective action against this threat is in doubt. However, as he said, as the world's largest economy, and as the second biggest emisser, the U.S. will continue to fight global warming.

President Barack Obama: America is going to continue on this course of action to mitigate our emissions and to move towards a clean-energy economy. No matter what happens here in Copenhagen, we think it is good for us as well as good for the world.

Chiotakis: All right, Stephen, so he says "No matter what happens." I mean that suggests to me that he has, or has lost some optimism. I mean, what are the prospects of an agreement coming out of this thing?

Beard: Well in his speech, Obama insisted that any deal here must include transparency -- there must be a mechanism for monitoring and enforcing agreed cuts or curbs in emissions. The Chinese are not keen on that, that remains an obstacle to an agreement at this summit.

Chiotakis: All right. Marketplace's Stephen Beard joining us from Copenhagen this morning. Stephen, thanks.

Beard: OK, Steve.