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Posts Tagged ‘Copenhagen’

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.

Photo Gallery and Text of the Copenhagen Accord

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 The war on climate change began early.

Hillary Clinton on Energy and Climate

 Date: 04/27/2009 Location: Washington, DC Description: Secretary Clinton stands at podium, addressing the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate. State Dept Photo

She selected Todd Stern as Special Envoy for Climate Change and brought him with her on her first official trip to Asia.

Hillary Clinton at U.S.-China Partnership on Clean Energy

Hillary Clinton with Chinese FM Yang Jiechi

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.

Hillary Clinton on Tour of ITC Green Building in New Delhi

… 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.

Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Remarks at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Hillary in Copenhagen

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.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) Ministerial

Secretary Clinton’s Statement On The Cancun Agreements

Video: Secretary Clinton Speaks to Climate and Clean Air Coalition

The Arctic nations were Hillary’s natural allies in the battle to curb climate change.

Hillary Clinton with Norwegian Foreign Minister Stoere in Tromso

 

Hillary Clinton at Climate and Clean Air Coalition Event in Stockholm

Hillary Clinton in Helsinki: The Climate Clean Air Coalition and Green Embassy Event

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.

Hillary Clinton and Delegation Wheels Up from Greenland

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.

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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Here is our lovely Secretary of State in Copenhagen today.

Well, some kind of agreement was reached. It does not have the teeth many hoped for. Here is the text of The Copenhagen Accord, such as it is.  It was posted at Grist with this disclaimer:

The text was distributed as a PDF file to the news media. An optical character recognition tool was used to convert that file to text, so errors may have occurred in that process.

Errors did occur because an optical character recognition tool is art rather than a science, but we should all be able to deal with the errors, and we all should be able to read this accord.   I did edit where is was clear what the word was supposed to be.  Other “errors” that came up underlined in red were simply British forms that actually are not errors.  Bolded emphasis herein is my own.

The Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, and other heads of delegation present at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen,

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

Being guided by the principles and provisions of the Convention,

Noting the results of work done by the two Ad hoc Working Groups,

Endorsing decision x/CP.l5 that extends the mandate of the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term cooperative action and decision x/CMP.5 that requests the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments of Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol to continue its work, Have agreed on this Copenhagen Accord which is operational immediately.

1. We underline that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We emphasise our strong political will to urgently combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. To achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, we shall, recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees, on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development, enhance our long-term cooperative action to combat climate change. We recognize the critical impacts of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures on countries particularly vulnerable to its adverse effects and stress the need to establish a comprehensive adaptation programme including international support.

2. We agree that deep cuts in global emissions are required according to science, and as documented by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report with a view to reduce global emissions by 50 per cent in 2050 below 1990 levels,taking into account the right to equitable access to atmospheric space. We 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 countries and bearing in mind that social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries and that a low-emission development strategy is indispensable to sustainable development.

3. Adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures is a challenge faced by all countries. Enhanced action and international cooperation on adaptation is urgently required to ensure the implementation of the Convention by enabling and supporting the implementation of adaptation actions aimed at reducing vulnerability and building resilience in developing countries, especially in those that are particularly vulnerable, especially least developed countries, small island developing States and further taking into account the need of countries in Africa affected by drought, desertification and floods. We agree that developed countries shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries.

4. Annex I Parties to the Convention commit to reducing their emissions individually or jointly by at least 80 per cent by 2050. They also commit to implement individually or jointly the quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020 as listed in appendix l, yielding in aggregate reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of X per cent in 2020 compared to 1990 and Y per cent in 2020 compared to 2005. Annex I Parties that are Party to the Kyoto Protocol will thereby further strengthen the emissions reductions initiated by the Kyoto Protocol. Delivery of reductions and financing by developed countries will be measured, reported and verified in accordance with existing and any further guidelines adopted by the Conference of Parties, and will ensure that accounting of such targets and finance is rigorous, robust and transparent.

5. Non-Annex I Parties to the Convention will implement mitigation actions, including those listed in appendix II, consistent with Article 4.1 and Article 4.7 and in the context of sustainable development. Mitigation actions subsequently taken and envisaged by Non Annex I Parties shall be communicated through national communications consistent with Article l2.1(b) every two years on the basis of guidelines to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties. Those mitigation actions in national communications or otherwise communicated to the Secretariat will be added to the list in appendix II. Mitigation actions taken by Non Parties will be subject to their domestic measurement, reporting and verification the result of which will be reported through their national communications every two years. Non Annex I Parties will provide biennial national inventory reports in accordance with revised guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties. [Consideration to be inserted US and China]. Nationally appropriate mitigation actions seeking international support will be recorded in a registry along with relevant technology, finance and capacity building support. Those actions supported will be added to the list in appendix II. These supported nationally appropriate mitigation actions will be subject to intenational measurement, reporting and verification in accordance with guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties.

6. We recognize the crucial role of reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation and the need to enhance removals of greenhouse gas emission  by forests and agree on the need to provide positive incentives to such actions through the immediate establishment of a mechanism including REDD-plus, to enable the mobilization of financial resources from developed countries.

7. We decide to ptusue various approaches, including opportunities to use markets, to enhance the cost-effectiveness of; and to promote mitigation actions. Developing countries, especially those with low emitting economies should be provided incentives to continue to develop on a low emission pathway.

8. Scaled up, new and additional, predictable and adequate funding as well as improved access shall be provided to developing countries, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, to enable and support enhanced action on mitigation, including substantial finance to prevent deforestation (REDD-plus), adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity-building, for enhanced implementation of the Convention. The collective commitment by developed countries is to provide new and additional resources amounting to 30 billion dollars for the period 2010 – 2012 as listed in appendix lll with balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation, including forestry. Funding for adaptation will be 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, developed countries support a goal of mobilizing jointly 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. This funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including altemative sources of finance. New multilateral funding for adaptation will be delivered through effective and efficient fund arrangements, with a governance structure providing for equal representation of developed and developing countries.

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

10. We 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 cotmtries related to mitigation including REDD-plus, adaptation, capacity- building, technology development and transfer as set forth in decision -/CP.l 5.

ll. In order to enhance action on development and transfer of technology we decide to establish a Technology Mechanism as set forth in decision -/CP.l5 to accelerate technology development and transfer in support of action on adaptation and mitigation Composethat will be guided by a country-driven approach and be based on national circumstances and priorities.

12. We call for a review of this Accord and its implementation to be completed by 2016, including in light of the Convention’s ultimate objective. This review would include consideration of strengthening the long-term goal to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees.

OK. I know I know I know! It’s non-binding and has no consequences in an of itself, but it IS something, and we all know the REAL consequences. It is countries like China, India, and Brazil that will suffer those consequences most severely if they do not act on this. In fact they already are, especially China with its pollution. They can no longer claim that they do not know what the results will be.

Anyway, there it is, the baby the President preceded by the Secretary of State helped mid-wife into the world. It does not have teeth, that’s true. No newborn does.

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I could not close for the night without posting this.  Hillary gets it, Oxfam (I belong to this organization) gets it, and I sure hope the rest of the world does!

Oxfam’s Reaction to Secretary Clinton’s Copenhagen Announcement

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Oxfam America President Raymond C. Offenheiser made the following statement in reaction to today’s announcement by Secretary Hillary Clinton that the US is prepared to work with other developed countries to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the climate change needs of developing countries:

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080221/DC14723LOGO )

“Secretary Clinton’s announcement could be one of the missing keys that unlock the international negotiations in Copenhagen. Her recognition that substantial resources are needed to help developing countries weather the negative impacts of climate change could truly move us closer to a fair and adequate global deal on climate change.

“Around the world, millions of people are facing the fact that the impacts of climate change are here to stay and due to get worse before they get better, no matter how quickly we cut emissions. From Benin to Bangladesh, the poorest people are hit first and worst by climate change, but are least responsible for causing it.

“This welcome development was bolstered by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s impressive bipartisan congressional delegation to Copenhagen, which demonstrated that the Administration’s proposals have strong support in the US Congress.

“To ensure a strong path forward, we hope President Obama will build on Secretary Clinton’s announcement and the demonstrated Congressional support and firm up the US commitment to meet this goal with public funding that is new and additional to current development assistance. Hard-hit communities around the world must not face a trade-off between health clinics and early warning systems for disasters.”

Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice. www.oxfamamerica.org.

SOURCE Oxfam America

YES!!!!!

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Well, I posted her remarks earlier today, but when I did, these pictures were not yet available.  A day or two ago (I work all day, teach some nights, and blog all night. The days run together, and I lose track), I posted a link to a New York Times article calling Hillary’s (sudden, and apparently previously unplanned)  agenda in Copenhagen a “charm offensive.”  Well, we all know our Hillary can do that!  So here,  in photos,  is Hillary in action.  I happen to think her charm is irresistible!

Well, it is charm and a little bit more. From Foreign Policy Morning Brief: Clinton’s last-minute bid to save Copenhagen

Top story: In an 11th hour proposal to save the ailing UN Climate talks in Copenhagen and have some agreement on the table by the time U.S. President Barack Obama comes to town tomorrow, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposed that developed countries including the United States come up with $100 billion per year over the next decade to help poor countries fight climate change.

And from Sphere.com Clinton Offers Surprise Deal at Climate Conference

(Dec. 17) — With the clock winding down and the hosts of the Copenhagen climate conference reportedly abandoning hope of a deal, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced a possibly game-changing U.S. push to facilitate a $100 billion per year fund to help developing countries pay for measures to mitigate and adapt to global warning. Her remarks threw the spotlight on China and set exhausted negotiators back to work on salvaging a conference still teetering on the edge of failure.

“The U.S. is prepared to work with other countries to jointly mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020,” Clinton told a packed news conference at Copenhagen’s Bella Center. But her offer came with a major caveat: that the recipients of such funds agree to strict and open accounting of how they are spent. China in particular, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has strongly resisted provisions for international review of its progress, and it has considerable support for that position among other developing countries.

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Remarks at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Copenhagen, Denmark

December 17, 2009


SECRETARY CLINTON: 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?

TODD STERN: Yes.

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.

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This just in from Dipnote:

Secretary Clinton is “wheels down” in #Copenhagen, Denmark to attend #COP15 events tomorrow. #hillarytravel

And here’s what she’s up against:

Posted:  12/16/2009 8:24 PM
U.N. climate negotiators looked Wednesday to the United States to bring fresh ideas – perhaps in the form of extra billions of dollars – to try to salvage a bare-bones political agreement by the end of the week on controlling global warming.The U.S. must find ways of meeting demands by a suspicious world on reducing greenhouse gas emissions without exceeding what Congress will allow. It must also find the cash in a tight budget.

“The United States is back and President Barack Obama is coming to Copenhagen to put America on the right side of history,” said Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was on her way to Copenhagen as negotiations over a draft agreement effectively came to a halt after an all-night session that broke up at dawn Wednesday with a confused text leaving most issues to be decided by ministers or heads of government.

Good luck, Madame Secretary! We know you can do it!

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Well, this comes as a surprise!  From The Washington Post:


Hillary Clinton will head to Copenhagen

By Steven Mufson in our blog, Post Carbon:

Just in case there weren’t enough policy star power in Copenhagen, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to attend the climate conference, according to sources with non-governmental organizations at the conference.

Clinton plans to travel on Wednesday and take part in negotiations on Thursday, a day before President Obama is due to arrive. She has booked a full day of meetings on Thursday and will join Obama once he arrives.

READ MORE>>>

Here’s another really interesting take on this surprise trip from the New York Times. Nations Play Hardball as Hillary Clinton Heads to Climate Summit

By DARREN SAMUELSOHN AND LISA FRIEDMAN of GreenwireCOPENHAGEN — The United States is putting on a charm offensive as U.N. climate negotiations enter the home stretch despite new battle lines between rich and poor countries over core features of a new emissions agreement.

Yesterday, President Obama worked the phones with leaders of some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, ahead of his scheduled trip to Denmark on Friday. Also, the State Department confirmed that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would arrive here Thursday for a day of meetings ahead of Obama’s arrival.

Hmmmmm!  A charm offensive!  The NYT is onto Hillary’s “smart power” secret.  Hillary’s charm is unbeatable!  The Hillary People ALWAYS knew that!

There is also this in the same article.

In an op-ed published today in the International Herald Tribune, Clinton stressed that international verification is key.

“A successful agreement depends upon a number of core elements, but two are shaping up to be essential: first, that all major economies set forth strong national actions and resolve to implement them; and second, that they agree to a system that enables full transparency and creates confidence that national actions are in fact being implemented,” Clinton wrote.

Clinton also stressed a critical component to the climate accord sought by key moderate Senate Democrats and Republicans in Washington. “Transparency, in particular, is what will ensure that this agreement becomes operational, not just aspirational,” she added. “We all need to take our share of responsibility, stand behind our commitments, and mean what we say in order for an international agreement to be credible.”

Clinton’s role is also increasingly growing in the closing hours before a critical deadline for the high-level environmental ministers who are trying to get as much accomplished as possible before their bosses arrive.

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