Encouraging the president-elect to go to Poznan

2008-10-08

in Politics, The environment

Grist and 350.org have launched a campaign aimed at convincing the next president-elect of the United States to attend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties in Poznan, Poland this December. The meeting will help lay the groundwork for the negotiations in Copenhagen next year, where a successor to the Kyoto Protocol will hopefully be agreed.

It certainly seems as though the attendance of the next president would signal a big shift in the American approach. An agreement that can bring together the US, China, Japan, and Europe will have an excellent chance of being adopted by all crucial states. Such an agreement would help to drive the vital transition towards a low-carbon global economy.

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WordNerd October 8, 2008 at 10:19 pm
. May 19, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Exclusive: Have China and the U.S. been holding secret talks aimed at a climate deal this fall?
May 19th, 2009

For those of us who believe that maintaining a livable climate pretty much depends on a U.S.-China deal on greenhouse gas emissions (see here), the Guardian’s story Monday was a bombshell:

“China and US held secret talks on climate change deal

* Negotiations began in final months of Bush administration
* Obama could seal accord on cutting emissions by autumn””

But was the story true? Turns out I know one of the key players:

“My sense is that we are now working towards something in the fall,” said Bill Chandler, director of the energy and climate programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the driving force behind the talks. “It will be serious. It will be substantive, and it will happen.”

I’ve known Bill since my DOE days, so I called him to get the scoop. He says the story is mostly true — and thus a true potential breakthrough that may well lead to a major announcement in the fall — but it has inaccuracies, including the nature of the deal being discussed. Let me try to separate fact from hype and examine what China might be willing to commit to (assuming we makes serious commitments, too, a la Waxman-Markey).

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