White House defends Obama’s Copenhagen timing

“The President will travel to Oslo on the 10th, and believed it was important to use this visit to help get us to the point of a deal – something that can take the type of action that scientists say need to be taken to stop and reverse climate change,” Gibbs said at a White House briefing.

“I think the President believes that a visit happening at the beginning is just as important as it would be at any point to getting that deal going quicker,” he added.

Several European leaders have called the close of the summit vital.

“The decisive moment is December 17 and 18. If some come at the beginning and others at the end, when will we be able to take decisions?” said French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday, according to Agence France-Presse.