From Making Waves

Quite a few of our climate folks have been on the UN Climate meeting circuit since before the Kyoto protocol was born. Not a few of them have been fairly jaded about the role the United States has played at these meetings in the past. So it's good to see some enthusiasm for the new administration's break from the "Crisis? What Crisis?" head-in-the-sand policies of the Bush era:

Here's and update from Cindy Baxter, at the Climate conference in Bonn:

It was quite something to watch a US delegate in the climate talks say that his entire delegation believed in the science of climate change. "The science is clear, and the threat is real."of leadership we want to see here in Bonn.

  • The US, he said was "back at the table" of the climate talks and would work hard to get a deal in Copenhagen.
  • The issue is urgent
  • He claimed US responsibility for historical emissions
  • He PRAISED China for its actions on renewables, but noted that China would have to come into the agreement at some stage ...
  • He noted that countries who clung to a high carbon path would be the "losers" in the end.
  • He had dinner last night with the "most vulnerable states"..
  • He had met with 25 country delegations so far.
He got enormous applause for all of this. The last time a US climate delegation got applause was at Bali - but that was only because they decided not to do something which would have collapsed the entire negotiation.

Meanwhile the previous head of the Bush delegation, Harlan Watson, here with the US congressional delegation and working for a sceptic Republican congressman, sat in the balcony area, head down, pretending to be busily typing.

However, when it came to the matter of the US target, Stern was clear on the long-term target (80% by 2050) but not so clear on the 2020 target. If you watch his press conference he confused everyone with what baseline levels he was using. In short, we all know that the US target is 0% by 2020 at baseline levels. We know that this is not enough, and our own Energy [R]evolution charts a course that shows the US could cut emissions by 25% by 2020 which is the type of leadership we want to see here in Bonn.

Brian Fitzgerald