Hillary begins the chapter at Cop15 in Copenhagen, December 2009. She attended with President Obama.
It is now diplomatic lore. Representatives of the most important nations they wanted to speak with, China, Brazil, India, and South Africa were somehow not to be found. Concluding that this had to mean a secret meeting among them, Hillary and President Obama set out to find them at the summit venue. When they did, they essentially broke into the meeting. To me, this remains one of my favorite moments of their whole administration together. It happened early. Hillary does not say whether this affected their relationship in any way, but it gave some of us a ‘mental instagram’ moment that never made it onto Instagram. The way Hillary tells it, it is a rollicking scene and you wish there had been photos.
We did, thankfully get to see this one. We have no idea what she was doing, but we all loved this moment.
The upshot was this accord.
December 19, 2009 by still4hill
The war on climate change began early.
April 27, 2009 by still4hill
She selected Todd Stern as Special Envoy for Climate Change and brought him with her on her first official trip to Asia.
February 21, 2009 by still4hill
February 21, 2009 by still4hill
The minister and I agreed that, based on the good progress that has already been made, the United States and China will build an important partnership to develop and deploy clean energy technologies designed to speed our transformation to low-carbon economies. These technologies are essential, both to spur sustainable economic growth in our countries, and to contain the increasingly urgent problem of global climate change. Areas for useful cooperation include: renewable energy, the capture and storage of CO2 from coal plants, and energy efficiency in our buildings.
We also agreed that we share a common interest in working to promote a successful agreement that climate change talks be held in Copenhagen in December of 2009. We will hold regular consultations between senior officials in our governments on all elements of this broad collaboration.
In India, they bestowed a lovely flower garland upon her and then told her that nations that long contributed more to the the looming atmospheric disaster should take more responsibility than newly industrialized states with economies dependent on carbon power.
July 19, 2009 by still4hill
… the challenge is to create a global framework that recognizes the different needs and responsibilities of developed and developing countries alike. And I not only understand, but I agree with the concern of countries like India. The United States and other countries that have been the biggest historic emitters of greenhouse gases should shoulder the biggest burden for cleaning up the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. And certainly President Obama has put our country on the path to doing that.
And no one wants to in any way stall or undermine the economic growth that is necessary to lift millions of more people out of poverty. So, I want to make two points as clearly as I can.
First, the United States does not and will not do anything that would limit India’s economic progress. We believe that economic progress in India is in everyone’s interest, not just India’s. To lift people out of poverty and to give every child born in India a chance to live up to his or her God-given potential is a goal that we share with you. But we also believe that there is a way to eradicate poverty and develop sustainably that will lower significantly the carbon footprint of the energy that is produced and consumed to fuel that growth.
And secondly, we in the United States, under the Obama administration, are recognizing our responsibility and taking action. So, therefore, addressing climate change and achieving economic growth, in our view, are compatible goals. And we know, as we look at the forecast of rising sea levels and changing rainfall and melting glaciers that India is a country very vulnerable to climate change. But it is also a country most likely to benefit from clean energy policies that are key to economic sustainability in the 21st century.
So, that is why I am very confident — and even more so after the discussion we just had, led by the minister — that the United States and India can devise a plan that will dramatically change the way we produce, consume, and conserve energy. And, in the process, start an explosion of new investments and millions of jobs. India already has the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, the knowledge base to be a big winner if we feed these opportunities of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
In Copenhagen, the larger, newly burgeoning industrial nations were concerned about environmental curbs restricting growth. Small island nations stood to lose habitable coastal land (as did and do inhabitants of coastal areas worldwide – including in the U.S.). Desert regions were threatened by continued and worsening drought bringing famine and disaster. All present were there because of concerns about environmental threats and were charged with the important work achieving an accord that would rein in the menace.
We already know how floods, drought, and famine – which we refer to as ‘natural disasters’ – can devastate regions. In our own country we now have a ‘fire season’ in the west. If you are younger than 15 you may have lived with a ‘fire season’ all of your life, but this is a very new ‘season’ even to people still in college.
Hillary was looking beyond the human toll these catastrophes take and toward the lurking political implications as well as their potential exploitation by bad actors. We do know how bad those actors can be. When Hillary and Obama both accurately saw the climate issue as a security threat during the primaries, they were both right, and it was an issue they addressed as an ensemble. We should all be glad for that.
Here is the press conference in Copenhagen she refers to.
December 17, 2009 by still4hill
December 17, 2009 by still4hill
It was not perfect and not legally binding, but the agreement that came out of Copenhagen was the first to reflect the softening of the division between developing and developed nations. It did not achieve everything everyone wanted, but, Hillary points out, that is the nature of compromise.
April 15, 2010 by still4hill
December 11, 2010 by still4hill
February 16, 2012 by still4hill
The Arctic nations were Hillary’s natural allies in the battle to curb climate change.
June 2, 2012 by still4hill
June 3, 2012 by still4hill
June 27, 2012 by still4hill
When she attended the Arctic Council in 2011, she was the first secretary of state to do so. Senator Lisa Murkowski, a member of the delegation, shared the photo. We see her standing near Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on the right of the photo. Hillary signed the first legally binding agreement among the eight Arctic nations.
May 12, 2011 by still4hill
The melting ice was opening new shipping routes, and Russia was quick, under Putin’s direction, to begin staking claims to possible underwater oil sources. The implications of an “oil rush” in the Arctic have grave military implications.
All of the international action on climate change is geared to culminate in a summit in Paris next year where, perhaps, legally binding agreements can be achieved. Hillary points out that many, especially small, threatened and fragile nations, look to the U.S. to lead and points out the value and necessity of leading by example.