I will post a lengthier wrap-up of the Cancun conference soon (I promise!), but for now thoguht I’d share the reception that the Cancun Agreements are getting from officials and politicians here in the U.S.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, December 14th, Todd Stern noted that “throughout the year, our strategic vision was to consolidate and elaborate on the progress made last year in Copenhagen by many of the world’s leaders, including President Obama, and to have such outcome fully endorsed by the Conference of the Parties, all the nations to the Climate Treaty, as the Copenhagen Accord obviously was not. The resulting Cancun agreement advances each of the core elements of the Copenhagen Accord.” Stern aknowledged the difficulties that the conference faced, saying “the U.S. is pleased that parties show the flexibility and pragmatism that was necessary to make progress in each of these areas. The two-week conference posed a number of quite difficult challenges. It was anything but clear for a long time that we were actually going to get this agreement. But guided by what I think was a really outstanding Mexican team, parties worked through the various problems with patience, and again, pragmatism, allowing us to reach the result that we did” (see the transcript of the briefing here).
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (notably Todd Stern and Jonathan Pershing’s boss) hailed the Cancun Agreements, saying “today, I am pleased to announce that we secured the Cancun Agreements, a set of balanced international decisions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which represent meaningful progress in our global response to climate change” (her whole statement is here).
Democratic Senator Kerry also aknowledged the importance of the Agreements, “the outcome in Cancun lays a foundation for continuing negotiations by which the global community can respond to climate change. Most importantly, it anchors the commitments to greenhouse gas reduction that the major economies made last year in Copenhagen, and makes emissions reduction efforts more transparent, builds confidence that pledges will be carried out, and creates a framework to reduce emissions from deforestation. These are all positive steps forward.” He also noted that the Agreements do not go far enough, saying “the United States needs to get back in the game today instead of being held back by obstructionism and broken politics at home, which have hurt us not just in the race to address climate change, but which have set us back in the race to define the clean energy economy and all the good jobs that come with it” (his statement is here).
The Republican side of the aisle was remarkably silent on the Cancun negotiations all together, and it remains to be seen whether Congress will be able to get their act together in order to pass some kind of emissions reduction or clean energy legislation before the Durban, South Africa COP-17 next December.