The Dernogalizer

March 30, 2009

Obama’s Climate Envoy Signals Change

Filed under: Climate Change — Matt Dernoga @ 1:08 pm
Tags: , ,

Leading up to the final climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of the year, there are going to be a series of meetings where the real deal-making takes place.   Right now, one of these meetings is taking place in Bonn, Germany.  As you might imagine, after having to deal with 8 years worth of negotiations with the Bush Administration, a lot of the delegations of other countries have become exasperated with the United States.  Even with President Obama’s encouraging rhetoric on tackling climate, there has been a hesitancy by other countries to believe it.  Yesterday, Obama’s top climate envoy Todd Stern set the stage for what was to come with a very encouraging speech to the delegations from other countries.  I’ve heard that at many times during the speech Stern received applause for the simplest of things just because other countries were so relieved that the most powerful economy was finally coming to the table to tackle the problem just in the nick of time.  This isn’t to say that there aren’t some problems with the Obama position.  The targets which Obama is talking about for the United States are weaker than what the science calls for, and they need to be bumped up throughout the negotiating process.  However, the mood in Europe and around the world has definitely shifted when it comes to climate change negotiations.  There’s a new enthusiasm in the air, and it’s carrying across the Atlantic.  There needs to be a monumental lift in this country and in these international climate negotiations by the grassroots for the world to get the kind of treaty the science is looking for.

Here we go

Excerpts of the speech below:

“As the President’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, I want to say on behalf of President Obama and his entire team that we are very glad to be back, we want to make up for lost time, and we are seized with the urgency of the task before us.”

“You will not hear anyone on my team cast doubt upon or downplay the threat of global climate change. The science is clear, and the threat is real. The facts on the ground are outstripping the worst case scenarios. The costs of inaction—or inadequate actions—are unacceptable.”

“In addition, President Obama is working actively with key members of Congress to implement a nationwide cap and trade program that would cut emissions by more than 15% from current levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Our Environmental Protection Agency is paving the way for more stringent standards for auto emissions and other regulatory measures. And the President is pursuing a ten year, $150 billion investment program for clean energy research, development, and deployment to speed key technologies to market and make the mitigation effort easier for all countries in the coming decades.”

“If America does what President Obama believes it can and must, and all of us collectively do what we can and must, then this negotiation can mark the time when we turned the corner and finally put the world on a safe and sustainable trajectory. We will not have solved the problem once and for all, but we will have made a powerful beginning in a more coordinated and comprehensive manner than at any time in history.”

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