Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen is in the United States this week to encourage engagement in the negotiations over a new global climate pact between now and the United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled to take place in Copenhagen in late 2009.

In a speech before a meeting of the Environmental Grant Makers Association on Wednesday, Rasmussen outlined his vision for a new global climate deal, setting the goal of converting the world to a low carbon economy.

“The world is at a crossroad. We need to choose a direction that will take us safely through the 21st century,” said Rasmussen. “Right now, we are on the wrong track.”

“We can continue to watch helplessly how the oil price rises and falls. Watch floods here and abroad, continue to transfer huge amounts of wealth to autocratic regimes and rely on unstable supplies of oil and gas, watch our planet grow more unlivable every day,” he continued. “Our will to act upon these problems goes to the very heart of who we are. Climate change will occur whether we decide to act or not. But we have the opportunity to control the process and take advantage of the transition.”

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Rasmussen will be speaking tomorrow at the Columbia University World Leaders Forum, and Grist will be live on the scene.