A deal on emission levels to succeed the Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012, must be reached at the United Nations (UN) climate change conference in Copenhagen in December.
"I believe change in the US will change the way things go [at Copenhagen]," said UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman Rajendra Pachauri, speaking at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
"There will be an effective and strong agreement at Copenhagen. I realize at this time things don’t look effective. Poznan [last year’s UN climate change conference] wasn’t effective as the US was in transition from one administration to another.
Also speaking was economist Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the influential 2006 Government report on the economic impact of climate change.
"We have to put together this year a global deal on climate change. The Big leaders will the be US and China."
Referring to Obama's plans to put green technology and industries at the heart of his $800bn fiscal stimulus package, Stern said this was the approach that must be taken across the globe to save the planet and economies.
"The economic crisis is very big but the planetary crisis is even bigger," said Stern.
"We have to tackle these things together, we have to see a green fiscal boost. We have an opportunity to create a new revolution like the railways, like electricity, like the internet, that will change the world," he said.