Archive for the ‘Copenhagen’ Category
EnviroMedia Cofounders to Participate in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark.
More than half of Americans say they’ve never heard of cap and trade. But a new Web site, GreenDetectives.net, launched today to raise awareness of cap and trade and other complex climate change issues in advance of Copenhagen’s historical United Nations climate change conference.
In a few days, negotiators from 192 countries will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, to work toward a treaty to replace the current global pollution reduction agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The 15th annual Conference of Parties (COP 15) will address global economic and humanitarian challenges, and may set in motion huge changes that affect an uninformed public.
“Between new Pew Center research illustrating low awareness and concern about climate change, and the millions of dollars invested in ‘debunking’ beliefs that it even exists, America has a real problem as we head into COP15 in Copenhagen,” says Valerie Davis, CEO of EnviroMedia, a firm that focuses on authentic green marketing.
EnviroMedia President Kevin Tuerff added, “Valerie and I have spent our careers researching and explaining air, water and waste pollution challenges to consumers. Global climate change is by far the most complex issue we’ve taken on, but we have faith Americans will contribute to the solution if they take time to understand the connection between our everyday lives as consumers, and important issues like cap and trade being discussed in Copenhagen at the United Nations climate change conference.”
Climate Change Decoder
The goal of the new Green Detectives Web site is to demystify the climate change debate before the United Nations climate change conference. At GreenDetectives.net, Tuerff and Davis simplify terms like climate finance, REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), climate adaptation, technology transfer and cap and trade through the use of a “decoder,” which provides a video explanation of the term selected by the user.
“Everyone needs to understand the terminology, words like cap and trade and climate finance, and keep up with these important debates,“ said Tuerff. “Greenhouse gas regulation is coming to the United States, and it will affect us all, so taking 15 minutes to watch the videos is a good start.”
In Copenhagen, Davis and Tuerff will provide daily updates on COP15 via GreenDetectives.net, and serve as delegates representing the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development. The web site will continue with related news into 2010.
They are the only American advertising industry executives who have provided perspective from these annual UN climate talks for three consecutive years. This year they also participated in business briefings with the U.S. State Department’s climate negotiators.
Davis and Tuerff were originally dubbed the “Green Detectives” in a 2008 Washington Times news article after they started GreenwashingIndex.com—an online tool featured in Time and Newsweek to call out misleading green advertising.
Editor’s Note: The Enviroblog (here) will continue to focus on social marketing, public health and environmental issues. The new Green Detectives blog will focus exclusively on climate change policy.
UPDATE: SINCE THIS POST, THE WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCED THE PRESIDENT WILL INDEED ATTEND AND SPEAK AT THE UNFCCC IN COPENHAGEN ON DEC. 9. Bravo! Must’ve been this blog. ;
Check out the beautiful logo designed by the US Department of State for the 15th Council of Parties meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It’s part of a federal agency Website aimed primarily at foreigners wanting to know what the red, white and blue will commit to at the December 7-18, 2009 summit of 192 countries in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is trying to stay positive despite the US announcement that no comprehensive climate treaty would emerge from the talks, as many countries were hoping for.
From America.gov Website: Any agreement has to involve immediate global action on climate change, and all nations must meet their share of the responsibilities, Clinton said. The agreement must also cover all of the major issues, including adaptation, financing, technology cooperation and forest preservation, she said.
The agreement also must help provide funding to assist developing nations, which are often the least able to implement complex agreements, she added.
“We are prepared to support a global climate fund that will support adaptation and mitigation efforts and a matching entity to help developing countries match needs with available resources,” Clinton told reporters.
“Funding through the new global climate fund and a technology mechanism will help developing countries identify what they need, where to get it, and how to finance, operate and maintain it,” she said.
Clinton stressed that the Copenhagen conference is not the end of the process, as many in the media and environmental community have suggested.
The funding part has indeed been left out of most media reports, and depending on the dollar amount committed by the US, the news should be welcomed by developing countries in particular. For 20 years, the UN has been working on climate change, but the funding to implement actions has been missing.
The more I stare at that US-Copenhagen logo (above), I wonder if that green line is really a frown?
NOTE: The EnviroMedia team is packing our bags for our trip to the Copenhagen event. We’ll again be serving as non-governmental delegates, and writing about our experiences for several media outlets. Check EnviroMedia’s Website on Nov. 30 for the launch of a new, fun public service effort aimed at educating Americans about climate change policy.
Props to Holcim cement company and our hometown Austin Energy for joining 26 other companies and leading environmental nonprofits in calling “on the Senate to pass clean energy legislation with a cap on greenhouse gas emissions this year.”
GE and Johnson & Johnson also rallied with Environmental Defense Action Fund and The Nature Conservancy by calling for the legislation in full-page ads placed this week and last week in The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, Politico and Roll Call.
“Climate change is real and the longer we delay taking prudent action, the higher the cost for future generations,” reads the ad. “Legislation is our best opportunity to get a low-cost effective national response this year.”
Kevin and I were in Washington, DC, this week for the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) fall meeting, held in conjunction with a meeting of the World BCSD attended by representatives of nearly 30 countries.
The day the ad ran, members of the USBCSD, including Holcim, heard from Janet Peace of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Peace said she’d much rather see climate legislation pass than default to the EPA’s regulatory authority for GHG emissions. Why? The establishment of a formal cap-and-trade policy would be left on the table, and we’d be stuck with the “patchwork” of voluntary cap-and-trade programs currently in place in the U.S. However, Peace said the Senate needs time to carefully finalize the legislation and didn’t think a bill would pass before the U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen. She said presidential leadership is essential, and pointed out that President George H.W. Bush stepped in to help push the 1990 revision of the Clean Air Act.
With Barack Obama traveling to Oslo to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, it would be surprising to me if he didn’t demonstrate his own presidential leadership by speaking to delegates at the climate change conference being held next-door to Norway in Copenhagen Dec. 7-18. Considering how delegates and observers were so receptive to Al Gore’s informal address in Poland last December (some actually wept, really), it seems President Obama’s presence and words would go a long way, regardless of whether we have legislation in place here at home. And who can forget a frustrated General Assembly in Bali two years ago, with the delegate from Papua New Guinea calling for the U.S. to “lead or get out of the way!”
USBCSD members also heard this week from EPA’s Lisa Heinzerling, the lead author of the briefs that led the Supreme Court to hold last April that the Clean Air Act gives EPA the authority to regulate GHGs. When asked what she would say to those who say the ruling will get caught up in courts for years, Heinzerling said she was “very comfortable” that the ruling is legally sound and that she’d “be happy” for the EPA’s regulatory authority of GHGs to be supplemented by climate legislation.
It was a great week to be in Washington, with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon attracting thousands of consumers to the National Mall.
It was heartening to see so many Americans interested enough in energy-efficiency that they’d wait in long lines to see homes designed by 20 colleges and universities from around the world. Cornell University’s Silo House (above) was one of my favorites. All I want to know is what happened to the Longhorns’ house this year?
What a couple of months it’s been in the world of climate change. First, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President William Kovacs said the science behind climate change should face scrutiny similar to that of the Scopes Monkey Trial (creationism v. evolution). Then, utility giant PG&E Corp. dropped its membership in the U.S. Chamber.
“There was a characterization by a senior vice president in charge of environmental regulatory and other matters, public affairs matters, that what the chamber wanted to do was establish the monkey trials of the 21st century and really put climate change on trial, at least the endangerment provision,” PG&E President and CEO Peter Darbee told E&E TV. “And we thought that that was extreme language, certainly not language that we at PG&E were comfortable with.”
Yesterday, I learned about an “organization” calling itself “C02 is Green” and, according to The Guardian, is made up of executives from the oil, gas and coal industry. This group is responsible for a campaign stressing that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.
Worth mentioning is that in August, a House committee launched an investigation of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and its lobbying firm in regard to forged letters from senior citizen groups urging lawmakers not to “vote to force cost increases on us” via associated climate legislation.
Said the ACCCE: “We are outraged at the conduct of Bonner and Associates. Bonner and Associates was hired by the Hawthorn Group – our primary grassroots contractor – to do limited outreach earlier this year on H.R. 2454. Based upon the information we have, it is clear that an employee of Bonner’s firm failed to demonstrate the integrity we demand of all our contractors and subcontractors. As a result, these egregious actions led to falsified letters being sent to Members of Congress. ”
Then ACCCE released this campaign.
Finally, a draft of a Senate Climate Bill, authored by Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), made its debut in the last week of September. After reviewing synopses by The Washington Post and E&E, I’ve compiled some highlights of the legislation:
• It differs slightly from the Waxman-Markey climate bill (which remarkably made its way through the House in June) by calling for a national 20 percent drop in carbon emissions over 2005 levels by 2020, instead of by the House’s 17 percent by 2020 goal.
• Both Senate and House bills propose 42 percent reductions by 2030 and 83 percent reductions by 2050.
• The Senate bill has a provision for a “carbon collar” that would prevent the price of allowances from exceeding $28 per ton.
The Senate bill also retains the EPA’s authority to regulate large sources of greenhouse gases (GHG). As outlined in The Washington Post article, this is something that’s off-putting to the U.S. Chamber. In defending the U.S. Chamber in the flurry of PR following PG&E’s resignation, its President and CEO Tom Donohue said, “Some in the environmental movement claim that, because of our opposition to a specific bill or approach, we must be opposed to all efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, or that we deny the existence of any problem. They are dead wrong.”
If the U.S. Chamber supports the reduction of greenhouse gases why not support EPA’s regulatory authority of GHG’s? Climate legislation of any substance may never go anywhere anytime soon. Would the EPA’s regulatory authority of GHG’s remain, a carbon regulation safety net of sorts, regardless of climate legislation?
“On the same day that Senators Kerry and Boxer introduce a massive new energy tax, which even members of their own party don’t support, the administration is quietly moving to impose a backdoor energy tax through EPA,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Senator Boxer plans to release a chairman’s markup of the climate bill in mid-October, with additional revisions before it hits the Senate debate floor this Fall.
What, if anything, will the U.S. have the fortitude to put in the legislative can in the 10 weeks between now and Copenhagen? When asked this week if he thought anything would pass before the international climate talks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said “Yup.”
It’ll happen. And C02 is green.
World leaders arrive at United Nations Headquarters in New York for the High Level Summit on Climate Change. Photo by Webb Davis for EnviroMedia.
Just 87 days before the United Nations Climate Change conference in Copenhagen, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told world leaders today, “Failure to achieve agreement in Copenhagen would be morally inexcusable, economically short-sided and politically unwise.”
President Obama received a warm welcome from fellow leaders as one of the first speakers. He pledged action, but also asked for patience. “I’m proud to say the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months, than in any time in our history. We are making our government’s largest ever investment in renewable energy, an investment aimed at doubling the generating capacity at wind and other renewable resources in three years.”
The following article by Kevin Tuerff is published in the September 21 issue of Environmental Leader.
Most Powerful World Leaders Gather Sept. 22 at U.N. Headquarters
A historic moment will unfold tomorrow at United Nations headquarters, as U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao speak to top world leaders, each offering specific proposals for reducing pollution from greenhouse gases that are affecting the global climate.
Despite the speeches, controversy remains among large and small nations, and it often resembles a high stakes poker game. Who are the players? Who is bluffing? And who has the best hand?
Last December in Poznań, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told delegates and ministers from 190 countries assembled at the UNFCCC event that if foreign ministers didn’t make enough progress in the first half of 2009, he was willing to place global warming on the agenda for their bosses to address at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York. He made good on this promise.
Throughout 2009, there have been many diplomatic climate meetings held around the world, with all the right countries attending. The talks are moving about as slowly as a cold war discussion about nuclear weapons. While some progress has been made, namely the U.S. coming to the table for the first time, there are major differences yet to be negotiated.
The U.N. is nudging politicians by declaring this to be Global Climate Week, and pushing a “Seal the Deal” campaign among business and environmental advocates. With a goal of putting the final terms in a treaty for all 190 countries to sign mid-December in Copenhagen, Denmark, there are many details to be worked out.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC
U.S. President Barack Obama
Chinese President Hu Jintao and 23 other world leaders
U.S. Sen. John Kerry
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Todd D. Stern, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change
Least developed countries and their leaders are miffed they don’t get to attend the September 22 meeting.
The High Stakes
It’s too late to stop global warming. Scientists warn additional delays to implementing aggressive reductions in carbon dioxide could intensify the negative effects of climate change.
What will the biggest polluters commit to? China and the U.S. are responsible for 40 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.
How much should developing countries like China and India reduce their greenhouse gas emissions?
How to Count
The United States and China may propose a new system to track pollution reductions, allowing each country to set its own rules and determine how it plans to meet U.N. targets. Some EU officials are alarmed about scrapping the Kyoto system and the time required to start over.
Brazil says U.S. emission reduction levels are not steep enough on the timeline. The proposed climate legislation pending in Congress would achieve a 4 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2020. Other countries want a 40 percent reduction from the U.S. by that time.
Russia says it won’t play without China and the U.S. making big reductions. Australia and Canada have made similar threats.
Both China and India have been complaining loudly that their countries should be allowed more time to continue polluting at the same pace because they are considered developing countries.
Most estimates for climate mitigation and adaptation run in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Who has the money, especially in today’s global recession?
Each year, U.S. taxpayers spend billions of dollars combating global terrorism, nuclear proliferation, poverty and HIV/AIDS. Although the timing is terrible, Americans will eventually be asked to pony up to fight yet another threat to the planet in the way of climate change.
So far, U.S. Climate Envoy Todd Stern has been saying the U.S. will provide aid to other countries through technology transfer of best practices for energy efficiency and clean energy. Other countries maintain that countries creating the most pollution should pay cash to the countries that are most negatively impacted.
This could result in American taxpayers picking up most of the tab to stop deforestation of Brazilian and Indonesian rainforests, and helping Pacific island nations like Tuvalu that may need to abandon their land due to rising sea levels.
The question of who collects and distributes funding for climate adaptation is another area for contention among nations.
The Best Hand
Advantage probably goes to China and the United States. China is both a manufacturing behemoth and also a rapidly emerging player on clean energy. The U.S. has some of the brightest minds and game-changing technology.
The Next Game
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is working on a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The next conference of parties (COP 15) is slated for December 7-18, 2009, in Copenhagen.
Yvo de Boer doubts every detail of a new treaty will be in place by COP 15, but believes it’s important to get the signatures from 190 national leaders. He also believes it’s important for long-term business investment, saying, “You can’t really afford to keep waiting and waiting and waiting for governments to say where they’re going to go on this issue.”
After this week at the U.N., the next hand in this poker game will come from the U.S. Senate, as they consider their own version of the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The House of Representatives approved their version in June.
As country music star Kenny Rogers sang in The Gambler, “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.”
Kevin Tuerff is principal and cofounder of Green Canary Sustainability Consulting and EnviroMedia Social Marketing.
When Kevin and I got to attend a reception for the first Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in April, Sen. John Kerry predicted U.S. climate legislation would pass in the House and was optimistic about China’s commitment to joint targets to curb climate change.
“Our good friends in China, who we want to work with and who we are already cooperating with, are doing unbelievable things,” said Kerry, as we reported to Environmental Leader. “China is going to lead all of us in the next few years, I predict to you, but we need to come together because China is now our number-one emitter surpassing us.”
Now, three months later, we know the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act squeaked by in the House with only a seven-vote difference (as Kevin and his niece Alison witnessed in DC on June 26; see his blog post with great photos).
Too bad Sen. Kerry’s optimism for traction with China hasn’t come to better fruition by now. The 17 countries representing the Major Economies (and 80 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions) have met several times since April, and talks culminated this week at the Group of Eight Summit in L’Aquila (the Italian town struck by a major earthquake earlier this year).
When China and India stepped away from committing to specific emissions targets, many say parameters being set by the group of 17 nations became watered-down. As reported by GlobalPost, the original intent of the group was for wealthier countries like the U.S. to commit to an 80 percent reduction by 2050, as compared to 1990 levels, and for developing countries like China and India, to commit to a 50 percent reduction over the same timeline.
Now, China and India won’t commit to the cuts, but the group of 17 has agreed the global average temperature should not rise more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. But many wonder how 17 countries can prevent that without more specific parameters. The G-8 nations did agree to the 80 percent by 2050 target, but set no shorter-term commitments, which the U.N. says is critical to preventing the 3.6-degree rise in global temps.
In April, Sen. Kerry also predicted passage of any climate legislation by the Senate would be difficult. Now, it looks like a Senate climate package should come to fruition over the next two weeks, and The New York Times reports that “Going forward, it is unclear exactly how the Senate will advance a giant energy and climate bill.”
Having witnessed benign U.S. representation at UN Climate Change negotiations in Bali, Indonesia, and Poznan, Poland, over the past two years, it’s surprising and heartening to even see any climate legislation getting traction at all in Washington, President Obama’s leadership in organizing the Major Economies group, and that group’s commitments in L’Aquila. I guess we can say, “at least the world is trying,” but is that the best we can do?
Ten years ago, the biggest environmental issue we heard about was the need for recycling because of a fear of limited landfill space. That fear caused governments at all levels to take action, and develop an infrastructure that has made it simple for Americans to divert waste from landfills by recycling. Now, at least globally, climate change is the environmental issue of the day — and it’s dramatically more complex, obviously political, and global in reach and impact.
If you’re reading this blog post, climate change is on your radar, but I was astounded to see a friend on Facebook link to a news story as Waxman-Markey neared passage and ask “do people realize this is happening?” At first I was surprised, but then I realized she’s right, because for years U.S. news coverage of global climate negotiations has been tepid at best, and as a result, it’s simply not on the radar for most Americans. There’s also been no significant effort to explain the connection between our personal energy consumption and carbon emissions.
As the world works through the complexities of climate change, perhaps the best we can do is educate ourselves and each other about the cause and effect of climate change. Or if you’re among the 3 percent of Americans who don’t believe climate change/global warming exists, or the 15 percent who believe climate change just hasn’t been proven scientifically, or the 29 percent who believe it’s occuring naturally, at least consider consuming less energy, which we can all agree comes from limited resources.
The drive to slow global climate change achieved a major milestone today: passage of a bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions by the US House Energy & Commerce Committee. Less than six months ago, most Washington pundits said such a feat was impossible during the 2009 economic recession.
Heck, I didn’t think it would be possible, and I was there at the UN Climate Change conference in Poznań, Poland last December when the United States reversed years of denial and refusal to set emissions goals.
There is no doubt the train is leaving the station when it comes to cap and trade legislation, changing the way utilities, industry and consumers use natural resources for electricity and gasoline. Governments and businesses that continue to ignore planning for a sustainable future are risking a lot.
Many hurdles remain for this bill to become law of the land, but the news is a tremendous boost to international diplomacy efforts to develop a new global warming treaty in Copenhagen this December.
Just today, before the vote in Congress, EnviroMedia Social Marketing/Green Canary Sustainability Consulting joined a conference call briefing by the US State Department with two dozen business and industry leaders and Jonathon Pershing, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change. Mr. Pershing said changes in US foreign policy were “scaling up significantly” the political movement among nations involved in the Major Economies Forum, which represents 75 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emitters.
Former Vice President and Alliance for Climate Protection Chairman Al Gore issued a statement on the House vote: “The bill represents a crucial step forward in addressing the global climate crisis, the need for millions of new green jobs to end the recession, and the national security threats that have long been linked to our growing dependence on foreign oil and other fossil fuels. I encourage Congress to further strengthen this excellent legislation during floor consideration and move to pass this bill in both the House and the Senate this year.”
GREEN CANARY WAS THERE: U.S. SETS TONE FOR COPENHAGEN CLIMATE AGREEMENT
by Wendy Reed, Green Canary Consultant
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Last week, representatives from 17 of the world’s major economies gathered in Washington, D.C. for President Obama’s “Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.” The meeting was the first of three scheduled for the purpose of preparing for December’s Copenhagen gathering, where a climate agreement is slated to be adopted that will take us beyond the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
Green Canary & EnviroMedia attended a reception last week for international
delegates last week at the Kennedy Center, and a briefing this week on the
forum at the U.S. State Department. Jonathan Pershing, Deputy Special Envoy
for Climate Change, shared discussion topics and outcomes from the meeting with a group of approximately 20 climate policy and industry trade
organizations. We met Sen. John Kerry and forum participants from Great
Britain, Mexico and South Korea.
According to Mr. Pershing, several country representatives at the Forum
commented that more was achieved with the United States at this one meeting than at all climate change meetings that came before. This was attributed to a shift from the past of focusing on what the United States didn’t want to do to what it would do. Just yesterday, Mr. Pershing told a group of business leaders via teleconference the has U.S. State Department has submitted to the United Nations an “implementing agreement” for Copenhagen, saying “It’s a story for where we want to go.”
Monday’s Forum was broken into two main topics: transformational technologies and core issues to resolve before the meeting in Copenhagen. First was the discussion on transformational technologies – technologies with the potential to help mitigate the effects of climate change if advanced on a global scale. This discussion proved to be the least contentious at the Forum.
The topic was introduced by U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and was followed by presentations from Australia and India. Australia presented on global carbon capture and storage, a topic popular among the group according to Mr. Pershing. India gave a presentation on the importance of energy efficiency, with a focus on buildings, emphasizing that energy efficiency can produce the biggest outcome for the least investment.
-Technologies Template In Development-
The group came away with universal agreement to put together a technologies “template” that would form the basis of a few options that could be advanced collectively through public-private partnerships, with a goal to significantly reduce CO2 emissions globally. This template is to be prepared and potentially agreed upon prior to Copenhagen, and should consist of a set of fewer than 10 technologies the Forum countries as a whole would be willing to support, work together on and put money toward.
The second Forum topic regarding core issues to be resolved, was to be divided into discussions on “mitigation” and “finance.” The United States, South Africa and Mexico gave presentations on their thematic approaches to mitigation. The U.S. presentation positioned climate change as “real and urgent, requiring significant yearly actions and not small incremental changes.”
The goal of the core issues segment at the Forum was to discuss and come to agreement on both mitigation and finance approaches by the preparatory meeting scheduled for July in Italy. Mitigation, which included the discussion on how to determine individual country CO2 target numbers for the next agreement, consumed 2 ½ hours. This left the finance discussion essentially postponed until the next global economies meeting in June.
Questions about U.S. priorities for financing climate change mitigation were raised by several groups at the briefing. They expressed a desire to see Congress appropriate funds in a way that gives a boost to U.S. industry sectors that could be part of the solution, and encouraged the State Department to develop part of the climate strategy by first taking stock of U.S. industry capabilities and then determining the appropriate matching tactics.
-U.S. Priorities for Climate Change Mitigation -
Mr. Pershing shared that his perception is that Congress’ top 3 priorities for how to appropriate taxpayer dollars for climate change mitigation are:
1. Adaptation efforts for poor countries experiencing the worst effects,
2.Forestry projects to slow the destruction of rain forests, and
3. Technology investments.
He agreed that U.S. companies could benefit from addressing climate change. He also asserted a desire by the U.S. government to do its best to maintain a level playing field internationally for U.S.-based companies and to facilitate the creation of public-private partnerships at home. “We don’t want to disadvantage companies,” he said, “but carbon.”
Characterization of the Forum’s success was cautionary in nature at this week’s briefing. Trust issues are a barrier for the United States in working with the other countries who have been present all along in
international climate talks and agreements. There is concern that the U.S. will not follow through on promises. As a result, many countries are looking to the U.S. to set short-term goals as well as the long-terms goals shared at the meeting – goals that would have to be met within a Presidential term of office, not passed on to the next U.S. leader who could then change the terms. U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern asserted a U.S. goal at the Forum to reduce domestic emissions to 1990
levels by 2020 and to attain an 80% reduction from that by 2050.
Another barrier to success, with the United States joining the talks at this stage of the climate agreement process, is the fact that many of the countries who signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol have already arrived at CO2 reduction target numbers and appear inclined to hold on to their long-term positions. This leaves less room for fresh dialogue on how to determine country-by-country reduction targets, something the United States would like to see happen. Parity and “comparability” in terms of country commitments, among developing and developed countries alike, was a key issue that kept Congress from ratifying the Kyoto Protocol in the past. Based on the briefing, this theme continues to be of utmost importance to U.S.
climate agreement negotiators today.
-U.S. Remains Committed to Copenhagen Deal by December-
According to Mr. Pershing, the United States is committed to achieving an international agreement by the end of the year, and will work overtime to make it happen. “We just need to find a common language with the other countries,” he said. “We each have a different history and should commit to something different, appropriate to our own circumstances.” He added, “I don’t believe that an agreement in Copenhagen will be the end-all-be-all [for the United States to address climate change]. We must marry our
commitment to other efforts in trade and technology, forestry, and more.”
Countries participating in the Major Economies Forum included: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Green Canary Headed to Copenhagen–Subscribe Now for Direct Reports.
A team from Green Canary and EnviroMedia have booked their December tickets for COP15 at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. At the UNFCCC in
Bali in 2007, and Poznan, Poland in 2008, Tuerff and Davis wrote daily reports from the conference for several organizations and media outlets,including the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development,
EnvironmentalLeader.com and the Austin American Statesman.
Email Green Canary CEO Kevin Tuerff if you’d like to subscribe to our special reports from Copenhagen, or if you’d like a special report for your organization.