Tag Archives: Copenhagen

Todd Stern US Special Envoy for Climate Change’s Speech On Moving Forward Post Copenhagen

This Speech is going on right now (1pm 10/8/10) I got my hands on a copy of his remarks as prepared. Interesting stuff.

Todd Stern

Remarks as Prepared

University of Michigan Law School
A New Paradigm: Climate Change Negotiations in the Post-Copenhagen Era
October 8, 2010

• Thank you very much. It is an honor and pleasure to be here today. Michigan holds a special place in my heart. I grew up with maize and blue blood in my veins. My dad and both brothers are alumni and as an undergraduate, while my classmates were traveling the globe, I left Dartmouth to study abroad right here in Ann Arbor.

• Today I want to spend some time talking with you about the state of international climate negotiations and where they may be headed at the upcoming Cancun meeting in December and beyond.

• In particular, I’m going to focus on four questions.

o First, can we move to the kind of new paradigm for climate diplomacy that we need and that is foreshadowed in the Copenhagen Accord?

o Second, is the U.S. domestic situation with regard to climate and energy legislation an impediment to progress in international negotiations?

o Third, what legal form should a new agreement take?

o Fourth, can the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – the official, UN negotiating body – remain the central agent for international action to address the climate challenge?

• As we approach these questions, we need to begin by recalling the singular events that occurred last year in Copenhagen and its aftermath:

o First, the collapse of the over-hyped expectations of many around the world, who had counted on the Copenhagen Conference to deliver a grand new legal treaty to “solve” climate change;

o Second the last-minute salvaging of the Conference by world leaders, including President Obama and Secretary Clinton, who spent nearly 20 hours straight together and produced the short, but meaningful Copenhagen Accord – a politically, not legally, binding document;

o Third, the refusal of the full “Conference of the Parties” to endorse the Accord – they “took note of it” – because a small, but vocal, contingent objected.

o Owing to that refusal, our focus this year has been on having the important understandings of the Accord incorporated into the negotiating text that is under discussion this year.

• A New Paradigm. Turning then to the first question, we can only understand the challenge of moving to a new paradigm if we understand what came to be accepted by many – although not by all and not by us – as the old paradigm.

• That paradigm holds that there is a Berlin Wall between developed and developing countries as they were defined in 1992 in the Framework Convention on Climate Change, with all specific obligations to address climate change assigned – especially by the Kyoto Protocol – to developed countries. The principle from the Framework Convention that is read – misread I think, but that’s another subject – as the foundation for this Berlin Wall is the notion that parties have “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.” Over time, many countries stretched this paradigm to say that developed countries have legally binding obligations while developing countries are asked only to act voluntarily. But this claim has no textual support.

• Now, in our view, the old “Kyoto” paradigm is wrong as a matter of textual exegesis. But, more important, this paradigm is unworkable as a matter of both substance and politics.

• Most fundamentally, you cannot address the climate challenge by focusing only on developed countries; they account for around 45% of global emissions now and will account for some 35% by 2030. You cannot build a system premised on the notion that China should be treated the same as Chad, when China is now the world’s largest emitter, is the second largest historic emitter, will be 60% largest than the U.S. by 2020, and has even surpassed France in per capita emissions. Instead, you need to start with all the major emitters, both developed and developing, accounting for some 85% of global emissions and build out from there.

• Second, as a matter of political reality, we could get no support in the United States – notably in Congress – for a climate agreement that required action of us but not from China and the other emerging markets.

• The Copenhagen Accord struck the first blow against this paradigm. In its essence, the Accord represented a deal – what some have called a “Grand Bargain.”

o On one side of the equation, it included landmark provisions for financial assistance to poor countries as well as important provisions on technology cooperation, adaptation and the protection of forests. The financing provisions themselves were key: (a) a pledge by donor countries to provide something “approaching $30B” from 2010-2012; (b) a goal of mobilizing $100B/year by 2020 from both public and private sources; and (c) agreement to establish a new “Green Fund,” as a new vehicle for funding.

o On the other side of the equation, all major economies – both developed and developing, agreed to implement the targets or actions they listed in Appendix I for developed countries and Appendix II for developing countries. Further, they agreed to implement their targets/actions in an internationally transparent manner.

o So two very important points here. On mitigation, instead of a Berlin Wall with mandatory obligations on one side and purely voluntary actions on the other, all major players committed to take action on a parallel basis. The content of the actions could be different – developed countries agreed to reduce their emissions on an absolute basis, below a baseline such as 2005 or 1990; while developing countries agreed to reduce on a relative basis – in effect, to reduce the growth of their emissions. But the character of their commitment was the same.

o Second, on transparency, the developing countries agreed that their implementation would be subject to some measure of international transparency. This is commonplace in institutions such as the WTO, the IMF, the OECD, and the UN Human Rights Council, but it had never been accepted by developing countries in the climate context. As in the case of developing country mitigation, we do not expect smaller or mid-sized developing countries to be subject to the same transparency provisions as the emerging markets. There is plenty of room for flexibility as we discuss details.

• What the Accord did, in sum, was to thread a needle between deeply entrenched and often opposing viewpoints. It managed to give enough to all parties while not crossing anyone’s red-lines. It recognized the fundamental imperative of development and the need to deliver large-scale assistance to many countries around the world. It was cleverly structured so that developing countries could make their own choice about whether to list mitigation actions, understanding that if they listed, then they were committing to implement them. Meanwhile, it was well understood, before the deal was struck, that the major developing countries would list their actions.

• The question now is whether the Conference of the Parties can embrace this new architecture. It certainly could, because the architecture is flexible and consistent with everyone’s real needs (which is why leaders accepted it last year). And the old Kyoto paradigm cannot produce an agreement. Climate change is not an arena where we can go “back to the future.”

• But it is far from clear whether the COP will move forward. To the extent that there is good news, it is that there seems to be some convergence around the notion that the objective for the Cancun COP should be a package of “decisions” designed to make progress on all the main issues. A “decision,” incidentally, in COP-speak, is a non-legally binding document in which parties agree on various points, whether of process or substance. The Copenhagen Accord, had it been adopted by the full COP, would have been a COP “decision.”

• So the idea of seeking a balanced package of decisions is constructive, since a legal treaty at this stage is still unrealistic. The question is what the package contains. And the danger is that many countries are arguing that we should capture the so-called “low-hanging fruit” – the “easier” issues on which there is less discord. This is code for saying we should do all the issues that inure to the benefit of developing countries – financing, technology, adaptation and forests – while we postpone action on the harder issues of mitigation and transparency. This is a non-starter for the United States. Genuine progress needs to be made on mitigation and transparency as well as the other issues.

• And here, there is cause for concern. The existing negotiating text, some 70 pages long and full of unresolved, bracketed language, includes efforts to return to the Kyoto paradigm – that old Berlin Wall – with mandatory obligations for developed countries and purely voluntary actions for developing.

• Indeed, this week in Tianjin, China, where negotiators from 192 countries are having their third formal negotiating session of the year, Chinese negotiators have acted almost as though the Accord never happened, insisting on legally binding commitments for developed countries and purely voluntary actions for even the emerging markets. They have argued – despite the black and white language of the Copenhagen Accord agreed to by their own and other leaders – that China did not in fact agree in the Accord to implement the actions it submitted. In their view, they merely listed those actions on an informational basis, a kind of global “fyi” — with no political commitment to implement them.

• This contention seeks to rewrite one of the core provisions agreed to by leaders last year. It walks away from the parallel structure on mitigation that was essential to U.S. acceptance of the Accord. The contention is unfounded because it contradicts what our leaders agreed to, in face to face negotiations, and it is unwise because it ignores a fundamental point:

o We landed on the Copenhagen Accord last year because it hit a sweet spot that is incredibly difficult to find given the widely divergent views and circumstances among 192 countries. It is not as though there were multiple ways to get this done. At the eleventh hour, with the Copenhagen Conference on the brink, leaders agreed on this spare, balanced, non-ideological text. To think the balance of that text can be jettisoned without damage is a bad bet.

• Of course, there is still ample time to put things right. It is an odd feature of international negotiations that, while you can see the clock running down, you often still have more than enough time to find agreement – if the will is there. It happened last year and could happen this year as well – hopefully with a little less drama. But there is no question that the negotiations face real challenges.

• U.S. Domestic Action. Let’s move to the second question – is the U.S. domestic situation a stumbling block? The short answer is no. Make no mistake: it is enormously important for our international leverage and credibility that we press forward with strong domestic action, and it would unquestionably improve the atmosphere of negotiations if the US had enacted a comprehensive energy and climate plan this year. But it is just not the case this year, anymore than last year, that everything hinges on U.S. legislation. President Obama is not backing away from the target we put forward in Copenhagen last year, and there are any number of ways to get there, using both legislative and regulatory tools. In his recent Rolling Stone interview, the President made clear that he remains fully committed to taking concerted action on energy and climate.

• It also bears repeating that we have done and are doing a lot already. Just two examples:

o First, our 2009 stimulus plan provided more than $80 billion in investments, loans and incentives to support a range of initiatives that are critical to transforming the way our country produces and consumes energy. This compares to typical clean energy R&D spending of $3-4 billion.

o Second, last year EPA announced the most ambitious emission standards for vehicles ever, and just last week, the Administration initiated the process of developing still tougher emission standards for vehicles built in model years 2017 through 2025. EPA has also taken the preliminary steps necessary to regulate stationary sources of carbon.

• In short, we have made a strong start; we have a lot more to do; and it is profoundly in our own economic, environmental and national security interest to act. But the difficulties on the international side are not about U.S. legislation.

• Legal form. Let me shift gears now to consider another issue in the negotiations that may be particularly relevant in a venue like this Law School – whether a new agreement, this year, next year or the year after, needs to be legally binding at the international level.

• I am not here asking the question of whether national actions should have the force of law. The answer to that question seems to me to be clearly yes; climate change poses far too serious a threat to treat as a matter of voluntarism; we need mandatory national laws and regulations. Rather, the question is whether we need an agreement that is legally binding at the international level as opposed to an accord, a la Copenhagen, that is binding politically and morally, but not legally.

• Now, it has long been an article of faith among most countries that we need a legal treaty to govern international climate action. And the United States, has supported this objective and continues to support it, as long as such a treaty is legally binding for major developing countries as well. But it is worth examining both the upsides and potential downsides of a legally binding agreement as we think about the world going forward.

• Denmark, in effect, put this question on the table for the first time last fall, when they publicly suggested that a legal treaty might be beyond reach for Copenhagen and that we ought to focus on reaching a politically binding deal instead. We thought that made sense, but many countries protested, and most of those who accepted the Danes’ logic did so only on the basis that a legal treaty would be concluded soon, preferably at Cancun. And yet, a year later, with Cancun just 7 ½ weeks away, a legal treaty is nowhere in sight. So what is going on here?

• To begin with, why is the idea of a legal treaty so compelling? I think, first, that it conveys a sense of seriousness; if an agreement is legally binding, then the parties clearly mean it. Second, a legal agreement is often presumed to include compliance provisions creating incentives, mostly negative, some positive, designed to push countries to meet their commitments. Third, some, especially in Europe, argue that a legal agreement is necessary if you want to build an international carbon market, in which parties – whether countries or companies – could trade rights to emit greenhouse gases.

• At the same time, at least in the near term, a legal treaty would be extraordinarily difficult to achieve. As noted, the United States, as well as a number of other countries, would not accept legally binding commitments unless China and other emerging markets did so as well, and they have made abundantly clear that they will not.

• Second, the legal character of an agreement will almost inevitably lead to many countries reducing their level of ambition, whether to make sure they can live up to their commitments, out of fear of the consequences of failing to meet commitments, or both. And this is true even if no consequences are written into the agreement.

• Third, negotiating a legal treaty takes a lot of time. The Kyoto Protocol was agreed to in 1997 and didn’t go into effect for 8 years – till 2005. Had a handful of countries not blocked the adoption of the Copenhagen Accord last year, we could be elaborating its provisions and starting to implement it right now.

• As for the markets argument, countries with emissions trading systems at a national level could enter into bilateral or plurilateral agreements with others who had their own systems in order to establish transnational trading. Over time, such a process could be built out to a broader international system. So we don’t agree that an internationally legally binding agreement is a precondition for markets.

• In light of the trials and tribulations of negotiating a strong, effective legal treaty, it is worth recognizing that if an international accord included countries making political commitments to each other to implement serious, mandatory national laws and regulations; to be internationally transparent in what they do; and to provide appropriate mitigation, technology, adaptation and forestry assistance to poor countries, you’d be much of the way home. Indeed, you might argue that that is exactly what the Copenhagen Accord did last year.

• None of this is to say that a legally binding agreement shouldn’t be our objective at such time as countries are genuinely ready for it. But that objective should not stop, or slow down, our quest for immediate concrete progress. The issue is far too urgent and important to put all our climate eggs in the legally binding basket.

• The UNFCCC. Let me turn now to the last of my three main questions for today – whether the UNFCCC will remain the central forum for international action to address climate change.

• By rights, the UNFCCC should because it has history, inclusiveness and credibility on its side. It has grappled with this issue for 18 years. All nations are part of it. And for all its shortcomings, no other organization has the credibility the FCCC still enjoys with the global community.

• And yet those advantages are not enough. The open question is whether the Framework Convention can act effectively and efficiently, given the range of different circumstances, interests and perspectives within its borders.

• This is not a trivial question. Climate change, as we know, is a profoundly complex problem. It can only be addressed meaningfully through a fundamental change in the way we produce and consume energy and other resources, and those issues go to the heart of economic development and growth. Thus, the notion that it’s hard to reach agreement among over 190 nations should not be surprising. The risks posed by climate change and the difficulty of containing it pose challenges to every country, but very different challenges, and sometimes very different risks, depending on a country’s circumstances.

• Since climate change is about economics and development, raw north-south emotions have been a staple from the beginning. The perception of many developing countries is that industrial nations, having prospered on the easy availability of abundant fossil fuels now want to pull up the ladder when it is developing countries’ turn to grow.

• Because of these kinds of deeply engrained resentments, and because of the fundamentally different perspectives of so many countries in regard to issues like causation – both past and future – and vulnerability, it is exceptionally difficult to command consensus for any approach. Yet consensus is exactly what the UNFCCC process requires.

• What this means, I think, is that we have to combine ambition with pragmatism and flexibility. We need never lose sight of the fact that we all – in the wise words of my friend Ed Miliband, the former UK Minister for Energy and Climate Change – have our own compelling constraints with regard to facing this challenge.

• Yet, if there is a singular feature of climate negotiations over many years, it may be the lack of appreciation for this point. So many countries believe they have the truth, the right way to proceed, the urgent demands that must be met. An appreciation for what those on the other side of the table can and can’t do, what their political red lines are, whether you like them or not, has too often been missing.

• Add to this the reality that here, as in so many areas in public life, it is far easier to stop something from happening than to get something done, and you start to appreciate the degree of difficulty presented by climate negotiations.

• In short, the question that the Framework Convention faces is whether it has the capacity to find common ground on the difficult issues at the core of the climate negotiations and to embrace a pragmatic response, even though it most certainly will not be everything to everyone.

• If the UNFCCC continues to be unable to do that year after year, things will start to evolve in other directions, because the urgency of the problem we are charged with addressing does not permit extended stalemate. Should we face such stalemate, the UNFCCC will inevitably begin to lose its standing, as countries look for other ways to contain the climate threat. More and more, in the corridors of international meetings, you can already hear negotiators from a variety of countries, both developed and developing raising these issues. If the UNFCCC is going to stay relevant, a non-ideological spirit of pragmatism is going to have to take hold.

• Conclusion. Thank you for listening. This is an endlessly fascinating, profoundly important, but extraordinarily difficult area. Much needs to be done, much is uncertain, and the future of climate diplomacy is still waiting to be made. Stay tuned. I’d be happy to take your questions.

How Obama Got Something Out Of Copenhagen

I am optimistic that something good is going to come of all this. Below is a transcript from the white house, detailing how Obama reached a deal with the other big emitters (and soon to be big emitters). Fascinating read, lets hope he can keep it up over the next 3 years.



For Immediate Release December 18, 2009




Aboard Air Force One

En route Andrews Air Force Base

11:46 P.M. CET

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So I just want to make sure everybody is cool with the rules here. We’re going to have probably a couple of these on this flight. What I want to do though, on background as a senior administration official, I want to go through a series of events that led up to the President going into what we had set up as a bilateral meeting with Premier Wen. So I just want to get — I want everyone to be clear on this set of events. So let me go through this timeline and then we can go through questions. And bear with me because I sometimes can’t even read my own writing.

At the first bilateral meeting with Premier Wen, the President, as we have done over the past several days, was pushing quite hard on transparency language. And we had given some transparency language to them and negotiators on our side had gone to work with their side on the notion of transparency.

Q The language was before the meeting, though? Was given to them before the meeting?


Q When you said, “we had given language to them,” you meant before their bilat?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: This was during the bilat. So this was at the end of the bilat and the President says to Wen that he thinks our negotiators should get together, spend about an hour seeing if we can make some progress — because in all honesty, rhetorically, we were hearing what we wanted to hear about steps that they were willing to take on transparency, but wanted to make sure that we would have something to agree on that wasn’t just them agreeing to agree.

So the President at that point — you guys will have some times in your email to go through — but remember there comes a point in which you should have gotten from Kevin Lewis, via an update from me, that says the President has gone to the multilateral meeting and representing the Chinese was their climate change ambassador in the ministry of foreign affairs, who was in this meeting — to put it, I guess, accurately — as to speak for the entire Chinese government.

It’s at this point that the President, before our Medvedev bilateral, the President said to staff, I don’t want to mess around with this anymore, I want to just talk with Premier Wen. So we were trying to do that before the Medvedev bilat. Our advance team called their advance team to try to set this meeting up, and in all honesty make one more chance, make one more run at getting something done. The Chinese say they need to call our advance guys back. So it’s clear that it’s going to take some time to get this Wen meeting done, so we’re going to go ahead and do the Medvedev bilat earlier than was on the schedule.

And as the President waited for Medvedev to be — to move the delegation down into the room, the President also says to staff, we should meet in a group of three with Lula of Brazil, Singh of India, and Zuma of South Africa. All right. So, let’s get a meeting with Wen, let’s get a meeting with these three guys.

We get a call back from advance that Wen is at the hotel and the Chinese staff are at the airport.

Q (Inaudible.)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don’t know what level of staff, but some of their staff — a decent chunk of their staff was at the airport.

Q So they had all left the Bella Center?


Q Including Wen — and that was news to you guys —


Q Oh, he was at the hotel.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The Indians — when we called also about Zuma, Lula and Singh, we were told Singh was at the airport.

Q Do you consider that a walk-out?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, I think they thought the meeting was done. I think they thought there wasn’t anything left to stay for, in all honesty.

Q That was around 4:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m.?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I’d have to — my sense is probably closer to 4:00 p.m. So we basically — we set times for when we want to have these meetings. We called the advance for each of these countries. We want to do — we had given the Chinese to a certain point before we were going to lock in first the other meetings. So we hadn’t heard back from the Chinese so we lock in first the notion at 5:30 p.m. we’d like to meet with the three, Zuma, Lula and Singh. And then at 6:15 p.m. — the Chinese called back — we didn’t know if they were going to call back, at 6:15 p.m. we lock in that we’re going to do a bilateral meeting with Premier Wen.

Zuma originally accepted this 5:30 p.m. multilateral meeting. Brazil tells us that they don’t know if they can come because they want the Indians to come. The Indians, as I just said, were at the airport. Zuma is under the impression that everybody is coming. Advance basically tells the South Africans that at this point the Brazilians are unclear about meeting without the Indians, the Indians are at the airport, and Zuma at that point says, well, if they’re not coming I can’t do this.

The Chinese then call and say, can we move our 6:15 p.m. bilateral back to 7:00 p.m. And we said — we put them on hold, talked a little bit, the President walked up, the President said, move it to 7:00 p.m., I’m going back to the multilateral. The President goes to the multilateral and we had been getting emails at this time from those in the European delegation about — because the President had left that first multilateral — or the previous multilateral after the deputy foreign minister for climate change had been there representing the Chinese and saying, I’m going to go find and talk to Wen. All right, we’re going to do this Wen thing. So the Europeans are wondering sort of where we were with Premier Wen.

He spent about 45 minutes in the bilateral meeting —


SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I’m sorry, in the multilateral meeting; thank you. That’s with the Europeans, that’s with Ethiopians. At the very —

Q (Inaudible.)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So this would have been, quite frankly, leading up to about 7:00 p.m.


SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, after Medvedev. We said — a couple of us start to walk up to the room where the multilat is because we had sent advance to look at the room, the room where we were going to have the China bilat and realize the room is occupied by what we think are the Chinese and we can’t get into the room to look at it.

So they come back and it sort of got our antennae up a little bit. So by the time several of us, including Denis McDonough and I, got into the multilateral room we’ve now figured out why we can’t get into that room: because that room has Wen, Lula, Singh and Zuma. They’re all having a meeting.

Q So they weren’t at the airport?


Q And you guys didn’t know this.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We did not know this. We are getting — I can show you some of the emails that we’re getting saying — because truthfully I asked one of the advance guys, did you see anybody else in the hallway? And he said, just clearly Chinese.

Q So Wen —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Wen, Lula, Singh and Zuma. But we’re starting to get emails one by one, hey Zuma is in this room, too; hey, Singh is in this room, too. So all of a sudden that’s when we start to make sure we’re walking up to the multilateral room. The President is beginning to leave. He spends time right before he leaves — this would have been right before 7:00 p.m., the President is talking with Chancellor Merkel and Gordon Brown about going for this bilateral meeting with Premier Wen, that they had rescheduled for 7:00 p.m.

Again, we thought we were still on for a bilateral meeting. That’s when our delegation walked over. We held and I think Ben moved the pool because we had heard at this point previous to this that the pool for the Chinese had been assembled outside of this room. And we had the President wait for a minute while Ben moved the pool so that — we had heard that they were going to pre-set without any of us. So we had the President hold.

That’s I think when many of you start to pick up this story. This is when I think you, in the pool report, said, you know —

Q When he said, are you ready, are you ready?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Are you ready for me? We were going to —

Q You were going to crash their meeting.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, no, no, no, no. We weren’t crashing a meeting; we were going for our bilateral meeting.

Q And you found those other people there.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We found the other people there. We found this out as we were going —

Q So as you walked in you realized it —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We found this out — remember, we found this out as Denis and I are walking up to the room to go with the President, because the delegations were the same for the Wen bilat, Denis, Ben and I were both in the delegation for the original Wen bilat. That’s when the President walks in — Helene has in the pool report, you know, “Are you ready for me?”

Q Is it correct to say that when he walked in he didn’t know?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don’t — I think it’s safe to say they did not intend to have that meeting with four of them; they intended to have that meeting with one. The President walks in — and by the time I finally push through I hear the President say — there aren’t any seats, right, I mean, I think if you’ve seen some of the pictures, there were basically no chairs. And the President says, “No, no, don’t worry, I’m going to go sit by my friend Lula,” and says, “Hey, Lula.” Walks over, moves a chair, sits down next to Lula. The Secretary of State sits down next to him.

And that leaves us at a series of events that Doug and others covered where there’s pushing and that would have been at 7:00 p.m. local time, so 1:00 p.m. sort of East Coast Time.

Q When the President —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Let me just — I want to do a couple things now. They’re still meeting back in Copenhagen. We’re going to get some regular updates, and as we get some updates, our hope and goal is to provide you then a little bit more context. Then we’ll start then at 7:00 p.m., or 1:00 p.m Eastern, because there’s several more twists in this road before we get to I think my notes have it at about — that whole meeting concludes about 8:15 p.m.-8:20 p.m. But there’s a whole lot of fun in between.


Q Can I clarify two just sort of factual points. You said at one point that the President left the multilateral because of the level of Chinese representation — is that right, that he — basically he said, I’m out?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Let me say this — I think the President realized, based on a meeting that — meetings that he’d had in Beijing with Premier Wen and the bilateral, he felt like he had a very good relationship with Premier Wen, and quite frankly, if the Chinese were going to make — if the Chinese were going to move on transparency, it wasn’t going to be through the deputy mining minister — right?

Q Is that what the guy is, deputy mining minister?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, I was just — sort of a joke. But, no, he’s the — I think we sent it around — he’s the —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Climate change ambassador.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: — climate change rep for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But in all honesty, it’s a position lower than the person that was in the original multilateral when we got there —

Q (Inaudible.)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Right, yes. So I think at that point, the President — I think the President understands that he wants to make one more run at this, but he wants to make one more run at this with Premier Wen.

Q And later in the — when he was going up to the meeting that turned into the multilateral, is it your thought that they meant to have a meeting with each other to exclude the United States, or get their ducks in a row, or what was going on?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I will assume that their meeting was to get their ducks in a row. Because at this point, though our — certainly our impression was that a number of these people were either at or on the way to the airport. We had confirmed with the Chinese before he went to the multilateral the second to last time — the last time being right before the press conference — but the second to last time, that we had just then agreed to move the bilateral meeting that we wanted to set up with the Chinese to 7:00 p.m. So we believed, up until about two minutes before Denis and I walked into the multilateral, before moving to the 7:00 p.m. meeting, that we were having a bilateral meeting.

Q But it’s not — it shouldn’t be too big of a surprise because those four countries have been working as a negotiating team on this issue, right?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Certainly no surprise. Again, we were trying to put together a similar meeting, but found the logistics to be hard to do. And I think I know now why the logistics proved somewhat challenging. They were busy; they were meeting.

Q Was it logistics, or were they trying to have their own separate meeting without the U.S. involved?

Q Were they trying to scuffle the deal and get together and —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don’t know that they were trying — I don’t know where they were on the deal. I know that the — again, the President’s viewpoint was I’m going to make one last run. When it appeared we couldn’t get the Chinese earlier in the day, the President said, well, if we can’t get the Chinese then let’s get the next three that are — absolutely they’re working as a team. They’ve got similar interests, there’s no doubt about that.

Again, the only surprise we had, in all honesty, was we did not know at 6:15 p.m., when we moved our meeting from 6:15 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., that in that room wasn’t just the Chinese having a meeting about their posture going into the 7:00 p.m. meeting, but in fact all four countries that we had been trying to arrange meetings with were indeed all in the same room.

Q Well, when did that become clear? When the President goes to that meeting does he think he’s going to meet Wen, and walks in the door and is, like, oh, everyone is here?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, no. Denis and I had told him that — we had told him —

Q That they were all in there?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: — that the room that the meeting is being held in for our bilateral currently contains the leaders of those four countries. And he said, “Good.”

Q That was his thought — good?


Q Can I ask one logistical —

Q So he said, “Good,” and, I’m going to go up there at 7:00 p.m. for my prior appointment with Wen —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: He said, “Good,” on the way to walking to the meeting. I mean, we had a 7:00 p.m. meeting and we were walking on our way to meet our 7:00 p.m. meeting. We briefed him that our 7:00 p.m. meeting is in a room currently occupied by not just the Chinese, but the three other countries. And the President’s viewpoint is, I wanted to see them all and now is our chance.

Q Were they waiting for him there? Is that why they were all there, because they knew he was coming?

Q Was there surprise when he walked in?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, the Chinese were waiting for us. I do not believe they anticipated that the meeting that we ultimately had would actually include all the countries. There’s no doubt —

Q They thought you guys would wait until they were done?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don’t know whether they thought we would — there really wasn’t anybody to — actually I think we were shown into the room, in all honesty. I think we were shown which direction to go to the room and I think there was no doubt there was some surprise that we were going to join the bigger meeting.

Q I’ve got to ask why you didn’t have better intel — and I don’t mean in the CIA sense – on where all these people were? I mean, it’s not —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We did. We thought they were at the airport.

Q Right, exactly.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I mean, that’s what we were told.

Q But, you know, you’re all sort of in a close area there. Why didn’t anybody from the administration know where all these people were? I mean —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, it’s not our job to know where Prime Minister Singh is if his — if we’re told he’s at the airport.

Q But usually at these summits there’s a lot of Sherpa-tracking going on and that sort of thing, you know.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, look, I — I mean, we were — we were told they were at the airport. We were told delegations were split up. We were told they weren’t going to meet — Zuma wasn’t going to come unless he was under the impression that the other two were going to come.

Q Do you think that’s all part of the brinksmanship and the sort of horse-trading and maneuvering?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I honestly think that they — well, my gut instinct tells me that they knew they had to make one more run at this.

Q One more?


Q But there’s this — what they call a taxicab strategy, when you always threaten to walk out. I mean, do you think that’s what —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, they didn’t threaten to walk out. When we tried to set up the meetings we were told they were gone. I mean, if they employed that strategy they didn’t lay down the threat.

Q Can I ask a logistical question just about when — I mean, because we’re all on the plane and we land at 1:00 a.m. in the morning —


Q If we’re lucky.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: If somebody wants to type this up and call it in, I will tell them that that’s fine to do — largely because I want to be — I want to make clear, we did not break into what we thought was a secret meeting, okay? Again, the reason that we appeared at the room — the reason we appeared at the room was at — in the 5:00 p.m. hour the Chinese wanted to move their 6:15 p.m. meeting back to 7:00 p.m. in the room that they had for their meetings. We said, fine. We were walking to meet our 7:00 p.m. appointment.

Q Well, you guys want — I mean, can we — because are we going to try and get this in for tonight? Or — I just want to make sure that — the one thing I just want to make sure doesn’t happen is a transcript lands and some — and we don’t somewhere —

Q I’m more interested in what happens between 7:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It’s a good story, my friend, and with a little luck we’ll be able to tell that at a little bit later leg on the flight.

Q That’s what I mean. So we, like hold — are we holding everything until we land? Or are we trying to, like —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I just want to make sure — I don’t want to be — just again, I just want to make sure that — the reason I gave you this series of events is because to accurately portray just sort of what is happening and when. We did not — again, our presence at that room at 7:00 p.m. was expected based on the meeting that we had set up. Whether or —

Q With Wen.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Right. Whether or not the other — fair enough we did not know the other three were there until at a point at which we were about to go and walking to that meeting.

Q And you and Denis told the President?


Q Was anybody mad about it?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No. We thought this was a great opportunity to finish four meetings.

Q The other guys.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: You know, it’s hard to tell because the truth is — and we’ll get into this on the next leg of this — there were — quickly dove into about an hour and 20 minutes worth of negotiating that — I want to do this part off the record.

* * * * *

SENIOR ADMINSTRATION OFFICIAL: So, the President believed that he needed to talk to Wen, they needed to make one more run at getting an agreement. So he’s in this meeting — this is the group of leaders that we first visit in the very beginning of the morning. So it is comprised of — obviously you’re going to take the four out that are already in the different meeting. So you’ve got a pretty decent cross-section, first, of — you’ve the Europeans — you’ve got Merkel, Brown, Sarkozy; you’ve got Rudd from Australia; you’ve got Rasmussen from Denmark. You’ve also got Meles from Ethiopia; you’ve got Mexico, Norway — so you basically have the smaller developing countries, Europe, Australia, Scandinavia — so you basically have the larger group minus the four that he ultimately sees.

This larger group had come to the conclusion that the agreement would either — they needed to make one more run at two main points. One of them was the percent reduction by 2050 and the temperature change, as well as the transparency; that they had to do that with Wen or they were not going to get an agreement.

So, at this point — so the President went around to — went around the table, physically walking around the table, talking to Ethiopia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Australia, the Maldives — all these countries to talk about what they were going to go — what he was going to go do in making a last run at Premier Wen. And they talked about the fact that if they didn’t — if they went to Wen and they couldn’t get an agreement, that basically they would still try to structure something for those that would sign on in order to continue to make progress toward something in the future.

So essentially the President has — is working with Europe, Asia — I’m sorry, Europe, Australia, and others in the developed — of the developed economies, in addition to the smaller developing countries minus India, China, Brazil, and South Africa, which is essential in ensuring that, in all honesty, the other four realized — this is where I think the other four realized that they’ve got to make one more run at this, too, because what they were — what the President was discussing along with this group was, if they couldn’t get something that included China, India, Brazil, and South Africa on transparency and temperature mitigation, that they would get what they could with who they could get it with.

So you basically have — you’ve got — you’ve now got two different coalitions. All right.

Q I just don’t understand your last sentence — they would get what they could with who they could get it with.

SENIOR ADMINSTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, basically if the Chinese were unwilling to do transparency, and the Indians and the Brazilians and the South Africans followed the Chinese, then the President and those in that multilateral group would try to get something that all they could agree on, and we would go out with all of that.

I mean, look, I think it’s safe to say at that point in the day, China had real — they were balking at transparency. The President thought at the very least we could get — we can make progress on something by putting together a coalition of those that were agreeable to having some sort of declaration or agreement.

Q And that coalition included both developing and developed countries?

SENIOR ADMINSTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, and that obviously is the key to —

Q Like you could create leverage against the four outstanding.

SENIOR ADMINSTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, yes. I think that’s why people stowed their luggage in their overhead bins and decided to come back to the negotiating table. Came back from the airport.

All right? Thanks, guys.

Obama At Copenhagen

It’s not a bad speech, and I agree with it all. But it seems too little too late at this point. I can only hope that behind the curtain, Obama is using the sizable economic muscle of the USA to get some things done. I despair sometimes to think how we wasted 8 years under bush, how we squandered the wealth of the 90’s on wars for the last 8 years, how we COMPLETELY missed our chance to strike while the iron was hot.

Below is the leaked draft agreement, which right now locks us into a 3 degree (C) rise in global temps, which basically locks us into a hell like death spiral into the destruction of our climate…time to do some serious soul searching and figure out what WE will do. If our governments and business interests fail us, WE MUST TAKE ACTION without them.

The Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, and other heads of delegation present at the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties and the fifth meeting of the Parties to Conference of the Parties to the to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,

In pursuit of the ultimate objective of the Convention as stated in its Article 2,

Recalling the provisions of the Convention,

Being guided by Article 3 of the Convention,

Affirming our firm resolve to adopt one or more legal instruments under the Convention pursuant to decisions taken at COP13 and this decision as soon as possible and no later than COP16/CMP6.

Have agreed on this Copenhagen [X] which is operational immediately

1. The Parties underline that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. The Parties emphasise their strong political will to combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature ought not to exceed 2 degrees and on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development, the Parties commit to a vigorous response through immediate and enhanced national action on mitigation based on strengthened international cooperation.

Ambitious action to mitigate climate change is needed with developed countries taking the lead. The Parties recognize the critical impact of climate change on countries particularly vulnerable to its adverse effects and stress the need to establish a comprehensive adaptation programme including international support.

2. Deep cuts in global emissions are required. The Parties should cooperate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing country Parties and bearing in mind that social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and
overriding priorities of developing country Parties and that low-emission development is indispensible to sustainable development.

3. Adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change is a challenge faced by all Parties, and enhanced action and international cooperation on adaptation is urgently required to enable and support the implementation of adaptation actions aimed at reducing vulnerability and building resilience in developing country Parties, especially in those that are particularly vulnerable, especially least developed countries, small island developing States and countries in Africa affected by drought, desertification and floods. The Parties agree that developed country Parties shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing country Parties. The Parties further endorse -/CP.15 on adaptation.

4. Annex I Parties to the Convention commit to implement, individually or jointly, the quantified economy-wide emission targets for 2020 as listed yielding in aggregate eductions of greenhouse gas emissions of X per cent in 2020 compared to 1990 and Y per cent in 2020 compared to 2005 ensuring that accounting of such targets and finance is rigorous, robust and transparent.

5. Non-Annex I Parties to the Convention resolve to implement mitigation actions, based on their specific national circumstances and in the context of sustainable development. Mitigation actions taken and envisaged by Non-Annex I Parties shall be reflected through their national communications in accordance with Article 12.1 (b) of the Convention. The frequency of submissions of the national communications of Non-Annex I Parties shall be every two years. Mitigation actions taken by Non-Annex I Parties will be subject to their domestic auditing, supervision and assessment, the result of which will be reported through their national communications. Clarification may, upon request, be provided by the Party concerned at its discretion to respond to any question regarding information contained in the national communications. Nationally appropriate mitigation actions supported and enabled by countries in terms of technology, financing and capacity building, will be registered in a registry, including both action taken and relevant technology, financing and capacity building support. These supported nationally appropriate mitigation actions shall be subject to international measurement, reporting and verification in accordance with guidelines elaborated by the COP. The Parties take note of the information on enhanced mitigation action actions by Non-Annex I Parties as listed.

6. Developing countries Parties should, in accordance with the provisions contained in decision /CP.15, contribute to mitigation actions in the forest sector by undertaking the following activities: reducing emissions from deforestation, reducing emissions from forest degradation, conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable
management of forest, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

7. The Parties decide to pursue various approaches, including opportunities to use markets, to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote, mitigation actions, in accordance with decision -/CP.15.

8. Scaled up, new and additional, predictable and adequate funding shall be provided to developing country Parties, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, to enable and support enhanced action on mitigation, including REDD-plus, adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity-building, for enhanced implementation of the Convention. Parties take note of the individual pledges by developed country Parties to provide new and additional resources amounting to 30 billion dollars for the period 2010-2012 as listed and with funding for adaptation prioritized for the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the least developed
countries, small island developing states and countries in Africa affected by drought, desertification and floods. In the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, the Parties support a goal of mobilizing jointly 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the climate change needs of developing countries. This funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance.

9. A High Level Panel will be established under the guidance of and accountable to the Conference of then Parties to assess the contribution of the potential sources of revenue, including alternative sources of finance, towards meeting this goal.

10. The Parties decide that the Copenhagen Climate Fund shall be established as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention to support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation including REDD-plus, adaptation, capacity-building, technology development and
transfer as set forth in decision -/CP.15.

11. In order to enhance action on development and transfer of technology the Parties decide to establish a Technology Mechanism as set forth in decision -/CP.15 to accelerate technology development and transfer in support of action on adaptation and mitigation that will be guided by a country-driven approach and be based on national circumstances and priorities.

12. The Parties call for a review of this decision and its implementation in 2016 including in light of the Conventions ultimate objective.

13. Capturing the progress achieved in the work by the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action and Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol under the Convention the Parties by continuing negotiations pursuant to decisions taken at COP13 and this decision, with a view to adopting one or more legal instruments under the Convention as soon as possible and no later than COP16. Deciding to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the Convention and continue the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under Kyoto Protocol to negotiate one or more legal instruments under the Convention.

Below is a transcript of Obama’s speech.

Good morning. It is an honor for me to join this distinguished group of leaders from nations around the world. We come here in Copenhagen because climate change poses a grave and growing danger to our people. All of you would not be here unless you — like me — were convinced that this danger is real. This is not fiction, it is science. Unchecked, climate change will pose unacceptable risks to our security, our economies, and our planet. This much we know.

The question, then, before us is no longer the nature of the challenge — the question is our capacity to meet it. For while the reality of climate change is not in doubt, I have to be honest, as the world watches us today, I think our ability to take collective action is in doubt right now, and it hangs in the balance.

I believe we can act boldly, and decisively, in the face of a common threat. That’s why I come here today — not to talk, but to act. (Applause.)

Now, as the world’s largest economy and as the world’s second largest emitter, America bears our responsibility to address climate change, and we intend to meet that responsibility. That’s why we’ve renewed our leadership within international climate change negotiations. That’s why we’ve worked with other nations to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. That’s why we’ve taken bold action at home — by making historic investments in renewable energy; by putting our people to work increasing efficiency in our homes and buildings; and by pursuing comprehensive legislation to transform to a clean energy economy.

These mitigation actions are ambitious, and we are taking them not simply to meet global responsibilities. We are convinced, as some of you may be convinced, that changing the way we produce and use energy is essential to America’s economic future — that it will create millions of new jobs, power new industries, keep us competitive, and spark new innovation. We’re convinced, for our own self-interest, that the way we use energy, changing it to a more efficient fashion, is essential to our national security, because it helps to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and helps us deal with some of the dangers posed by climate change.

So I want this plenary session to understand, America is going to continue on this course of action to mitigate our emissions and to move towards a clean energy economy, no matter what happens here in Copenhagen. We think it is good for us, as well as good for the world. But we also believe that we will all be stronger, all be safer, all be more secure if we act together. That’s why it is in our mutual interest to achieve a global accord in which we agree to certain steps, and to hold each other accountable to certain commitments.

After months of talk, after two weeks of negotiations, after innumerable side meetings, bilateral meetings, endless hours of discussion among negotiators, I believe that the pieces of that accord should now be clear.

First, all major economies must put forward decisive national actions that will reduce their emissions, and begin to turn the corner on climate change. I’m pleased that many of us have already done so. Almost all the major economies have put forward legitimate targets, significant targets, ambitious targets. And I’m confident that America will fulfill the commitments that we have made: cutting our emissions in the range of 17 percent by 2020, and by more than 80 percent by 2050 in line with final legislation.

Second, we must have a mechanism to review whether we are keeping our commitments, and exchange this information in a transparent manner. These measures need not be intrusive, or infringe upon sovereignty. They must, however, ensure that an accord is credible, and that we’re living up to our obligations. Without such accountability, any agreement would be empty words on a page.

I don’t know how you have an international agreement where we all are not sharing information and ensuring that we are meeting our commitments. That doesn’t make sense. It would be a hollow victory.

Number three, we must have financing that helps developing countries adapt, particularly the least developed and most vulnerable countries to climate change. America will be a part of fast-start funding that will ramp up to $10 billion by 2012. And yesterday, Secretary Hillary Clinton, my Secretary of State, made it clear that we will engage in a global effort to mobilize $100 billion in financing by 2020, if — and only if — it is part of a broader accord that I have just described.

Mitigation. Transparency. Financing. It’s a clear formula — one that embraces the principle of common but differentiated responses and respective capabilities. And it adds up to a significant accord — one that takes us farther than we have ever gone before as an international community.

I just want to say to this plenary session that we are running short on time. And at this point, the question is whether we will move forward together or split apart, whether we prefer posturing to action. I’m sure that many consider this an imperfect framework that I just described. No country will get everything that it wants. There are those developing countries that want aid with no strings attached, and no obligations with respect to transparency. They think that the most advanced nations should pay a higher price; I understand that. There are those advanced nations who think that developing countries either cannot absorb this assistance, or that will not be held accountable effectively, and that the world’s fastest-growing emitters should bear a greater share of the burden.

We know the fault lines because we’ve been imprisoned by them for years. These international discussions have essentially taken place now for almost two decades, and we have very little to show for it other than an increased acceleration of the climate change phenomenon. The time for talk is over. This is the bottom line: We can embrace this accord, take a substantial step forward, continue to refine it and build upon its foundation. We can do that, and everyone who is in this room will be part of a historic endeavor — one that makes life better for our children and our grandchildren.

Or we can choose delay, falling back into the same divisions that have stood in the way of action for years. And we will be back having the same stale arguments month after month, year after year, perhaps decade after decade, all while the danger of climate change grows until it is irreversible.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no time to waste. America has made our choice. We have charted our course. We have made our commitments. We will do what we say. Now I believe it’s the time for the nations and the people of the world to come together behind a common purpose.

We are ready to get this done today — but there has to be movement on all sides to recognize that it is better for us to act than to talk; it’s better for us to choose action over inaction; the future over the past — and with courage and faith, I believe that we can meet our responsibility to our people, and the future of our planet. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Secretary Clinton Announces 100 Billion Dollars To Fight Climate Change

Below is the transcript from her speech in Copenhagen today. You can watch the video here(if the one below doesn’t work).

— —————

Thank you all for coming this morning. I arrived in Copenhagen several hours ago. I’ve just had a briefing on the state of the negotiations. I’d like to give you a brief report on where we stand and then make an announcement.

First, let me thank Todd Stern and the terrific team representing the United States at this conference. Actually, they’ve been representing us ever since the beginning of the Obama Administration over this past year.

We appointed Todd Stern as our first-ever Special Envoy for Climate Change because we understood that this is one of the most urgent global challenges of our time, and it demands a global solution. Climate change threatens not only our environment, but our economy and our security — this is an undeniable and unforgiving fact.

So in addition to the robust actions that the Obama Administration has taken at home — from the historic investment in clean energy included in the Recovery Act to the new efficiency standards for cars, trucks, and appliances — we have pursued an unprecedented effort to engage partners around the world in the fight against climate change. And we produced real results.

President Obama launched the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate which brought together key developed and developing countries. He also spearheaded an agreement, first among the G20 and then the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation nations, to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

And after a year of diplomacy, we have come to Copenhagen ready to take the steps necessary to achieve a comprehensive and operational new agreement that will provide a foundation for long-term, sustainable economic growth. Our U.S. delegation includes not just the President of the United States, but six members of his Cabinet.

We have now reached the critical juncture in these negotiations. I understand that the talks have been difficult. I know that our team, along with many others, are working hard and around the clock to forge a deal. And we will continue doing all that we can do. But the time is at hand for all countries to reach for common ground and take an historic step that we can all be proud of.

There is a way forward based on a number of core elements: decisive national actions, an operational accord that internationalizes those actions, assistance for nations that are the most vulnerable and least prepared to meet the effects of climate change, and standards of transparency that provide credibility to the entire process. The world community should accept no less.

And the United States is ready to embrace this path.

First, we have announced our intention to cut our emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels in 2020 and ultimately in line with final climate and energy legislation. In light of the President’s goals, the expected pathway in pending legislation would extend those cuts to 30 percent by 2025, 42 percent by 2030, and more than 80 percent by 2050.

Second, we also recognize that an agreement must provide generous financial and technological support for developing countries, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, to help them reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. That’s why we joined an effort to mobilize fast-start funding that will ramp up to $10 billion in 2012 to support the adaptation and mitigation efforts of countries in need.

And today I’d like to announce that, in the context of a strong accord in which all major economies stand behind meaningful mitigation actions and provide full transparency as to their implementation, the United States is prepared to work with other countries toward a goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the climate change needs of developing countries. We expect this funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance. This will include a significant focus on forestry and adaptation, particularly, again I repeat, for the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

So there should be no doubt about the commitment of the United States to reaching a successful agreement here in Copenhagen and meeting this great global challenge together.

But ultimately this must be a common effort. We all know there are real challenges that remain in the hours left to these negotiations. And it is no secret that we have lost precious time in these past days. In the time we have left here, it can no longer be about us versus them – this group of nations pitted against that group. We all face the same challenge together.

I have often quoted a Chinese proverb which says that when you are in a common boat, you have to cross the river peacefully together. Well, we are in a common boat. All of the major economies have an obligation to commit to meaningful mitigation actions and stand behind them in a transparent way. And all of us have an obligation to engage constructively and creatively toward a workable solution. We need to avoid negotiating approaches that undermine rather than advance progress toward our objective.

I am deeply concerned about the consequences for developing countries – from Bangladesh to the Maldives, from the Caribbean to West Africa and the Pacific Islands – if we cannot secure the kind of strong operational accord I’ve described today. We know what the consequences will be for the farmer in Bangladesh or the herder in Africa or the family being battered by hurricanes in Central America. Without that accord, there won’t be the kind of joint global action from all of the major economies we all want to see, and the effects in the developing world could be catastrophic. We know what will happen. Rising seas, lost farmland, drought and so much else. Without the accord, the opportunity to mobilize significant resources to assist developing countries with mitigation and adaptation will be lost.

Over the next two days, we will be discussing these issues further. This problem is not going away, even when we leave Copenhagen. But neither is our resolve. We must try to overcome the obstacles that remain. We must not only seize this moment, but raise our oars together and row in the same direction toward our common destination and destiny. And the United States is ready to do our part. Thank you.

MODERATOR: We’ll take a few questions. John Broder, from the New York Times.

QUESTION: The commitment toward a hundred billion dollar fund by 2020 is in line with, although at the lower end of, what Great Britain and the EU have proposed. You mentioned that it would include some alternative forms of finance. Could you spell that out a little bit? And do you seriously believe that a hundred billion dollars is going to be enough, and going to be enough to move this process to a conclusion tomorrow night?

SERETARY CLINTON: Well, a hundred billion dollars a year is a lot of money. That’s a commitment that is very real and can have tangible effects. There is a pipeline that both has to be filled and then the funds disbursed. So we actually think a hundred billion dollars is appropriate, usable and will be effective. There are a number of different ideas about how we can pursue the financing to achieve the annual one hundred billion dollars commitment. I don’t want to go into that here, because, you know, there are many different ideas. The important point for the next two days is not to talk about how we would fund money that we haven’t yet agreed to fund, but to make the agreement that that is what we’re going to do. Because I want to underscore what I said: in the absence of an operational agreement that meets the requirements that I outlined, there will not be that kind of financial commitment, at least from the United States.

QUESTION: (Inaudible), TV2 Denmark. Two questions. Number one, as you may have heard, there has been sort of a stalemate in the negotiations. Who will now drive the negotiations forward? And number two, there’s been rumors that President Obama may not come tomorrow. Will he come, actually?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as to the first question, we all have to drive the negotiations forward. I’m here today, not only to make this announcement, which is a significant commitment from President Obama and the United States, but to underscore the importance of engaging in a very constructive and active way over the next hours. We’re running out of time. It’s unfortunate that there has been problems with the process, difficulties with certain parties being willing to come to the table, all kinds of discussions and disagreements, sometimes about the past rather than about the future. But the underlying reality is, we have to do everything we can to reach this agreement. Because in the absence of a new agreement that binds everyone to their relative commitments and responsibilities, where the developed countries take on these obligations and where the developing countries work on their own mitigation and adaptation measures, with a transparency mechanism, there will not be the kind of concerted, global action that we so desperately need.

The President is planning to come tomorrow. Obviously we hope that there will be something to come for.

QUESTION: Thank you. Margaret Ryan with Clean Skies News. Are you saying if China – we have reports this morning from Reuters, The Post and so on – where the Chinese officials are saying no, they will not commit to the kind of transparency, incorporating their commitments into an international treaty that the U.S. is asking. If they continue in that position, will the U.S. walk away from an agreement here?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We think this agreement has interlocking pieces, all of which must go together. And we have set those out continuously. There have been numerous instances in the past year where parties have agreed to the elements of the agreement that we are seeking – at L’Aquila, the G8, the Major Economies Forum, the bilateral meeting between President Obama and President Hu Jintao in their statement in Beijing. Time and time again leading up to these negotiations, all the parties have committed themselves to pursuing an agreement that met the various standards, including transparency. It would be hard to imagine, speaking for the United States, that there could be the level of financial commitment that I have just announced in the absence of transparency from the second biggest emitter – and now I guess the first biggest emitter, and now nearly, if not already, the second biggest economy.

QUESTION: Thank you Madam Secretary. David Corn, of Mother Jones Magazine and PoliticsDaily.com. Can you outline some of those requirements? You have just mentioned China a little bit. What would be the standards that you would expect China and other major developing nations to meet in order for there to be a deal in which you could go ahead with this financial commitment?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have presented and discussed numerous approaches to transparency with a number of countries and there are many ways to achieve transparency that would be credible and acceptable. But there has to be a willingness to move toward transparency in whatever form we finally determine is appropriate. So, if there is not even a commitment to pursue transparency, that’s kind of a dealbreaker for us. In the absence of transparency of some sort – and I am not going to prescribe from this podium exactly what it must be – but there has to be a commitment to transparency. We’ve said it consistently. As I just referenced, there have been occasions in this past year when all the major economies have committed to transparency. Now that we are trying to define what transparency means and how we would both implement it and observe it, there is a backing away from transparency. And, you know, that to us is something that undermines the whole effort that we’re engaged in.

MODERATOR: We have time for one more.

QUESTION: My name is (inaudible) from the Tokyo Chunichi newspapers. I was wondering about the fast start financing because the EU has committed about 10 billion dollars, Japan 15 billion. So what is the EU offering on that – sorry, the U.S. offering on that, obviously?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We are committed to the fast funding start, and we are going to do our proportion of it, right Todd?


MODERATOR: We’ll take one more.

QUESTION: I’m from the Norwegian Broadcast Corporation. I am just wondering, this “should” instead of “shall.” What does the word mean when you take it back to the U.S?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well it depends upon what you’re referring to. If you’re referring to transparency, there shall be a transparency requirement. How it is defined and implemented is something we should leave up to the negotiations.

QUESTION: I was wondering, the change in the text that you – the U.S. asked for a change in the text that they wanted a conditional “should” instead of a “shall” in terms of reduction.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s text negotiation that the negotiators are doing. You know that the advantage of being the Secretary of State is I’m up here at the large macro level, and they have to get down into the nitty gritty and determine exactly what verb and modifier needs to be used. But the point is that as we negotiate text, we should be negotiating over transparency. There should not be positions taken that transparency is off the table for certain countries, because that is unacceptable in the overall international agreement we are trying to forge. Will you just add a word?

TODD STERN: On that specific question; look, the effort that’s going on right now that Prime Minister Rasmussen has led, is to get an operational, political accord leading up to, hopefully next year, a politically binding agreement. “Shall” is a word that is typically used in legal agreements and not in non-legally binding agreements. So that’s maybe more than you want to know, but that’s the textual answer.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.