Things are starting to look up again for the Climate Change Conference scheduled to start next week in Denmark.

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Image source: en.cop15.dk

More world leaders have agreed to attend the summit—currently a total of 98 out of 192 United Nations members, which is a decent jump from the initial 65 count last month. US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jibao are amongst those who will be attending, and many believe their attendance will have a huge impact on any chance of a deal being made. Obama is expected to attend on December 9th, the day before he is to collect the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

Many of the other leaders will not be attending until the last few days of the conference, though Denmark has not issued a list of names. While the prospects of coming to a sound agreement are slowly getting better, there are other issues that still need to be addressed.

Australia’s government has yet to decide on a plan to introduce carbon trading. Pending on how the decision goes, it may be the biggest economic policy change in modern Australian history. Also, the debate is being closely watched by a number of countries, including the US and EU, who may offer support for action on a carbon trading agreement.

There is also an issue with India rejecting a recent draft text proposed by the Danish government that set a goal of cutting world greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 from 1990 levels. India (and China) expects the richer nations to do a lot more on their part, starting with cutting 40% of their emissions by 2020 below 1990 levels. Needless to say, there may be a bit of trouble between rich and developing nations during the summit.

Fortunately—and despite any tension or other setbacks—there is some other good news. Investors and some rich nations are pushing the REDD project to slow deforestation, which may create a carbon trading scheme in 2013. A lot of countries are also supporting a U.N. project that rewards developing nations for protecting their forests. Trees soak up CO2 as they grow, therefore: living trees are good, deforestation is bad.

COP15 is less than a week away and it certainly is a good thing to see more people are becoming involved with the event and issues at hand. I do hope that Danish Prime Minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, was right when he said that “we are on the right track”; but I suppose only time will tell.