At the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday, president Hu Jintao announced China would make “notable” reductions in carbon intensity while generating 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. E&E News asked senators for their responses.Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Kit Bond (R-MO)
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) said he had not yet seen the details. “But that’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “Clearly, the major economies are going to need to do this in concert. And it’ll be difficult for us to act unless the Chinese and the Indians are willing to make commitments that will actually solve this problem. So it’s a good sign. I’ll be interested to know the magnitude of it and whether it suggests further progress or whether it’s just symbolic.”
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
“I want to see what the details are. It’s a target. Is it enforceable? . . . These are ministers, vice ministers and the commerce and environmental protection agency. They said they’re not going to do anything that’s going to stifle the growth of the economy—that they need to put all the people back to work.”
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
“The more that other countries pledge to cut their carbon and to protect their own people from pollution, it helps us greatly.”
Ted Kaufman (D-DE)
“That’s encouraging. That will help us make decisions on our emission problems.”
Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), a member of Kerry’s Foreign Relations Committee, said China’s decision was a clear signal to U.S. businesses. “The difference here is, they’ve figured out it’s in their economic interest to be involved in this,” Kaufman said. “This is one pledge that they’re going to deliver on.”
John Kerry (D-MA)
The Hill Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who is working with McCain and other centrist senators to find broad support for a climate change bill, said that Hu’s commitment to targets was “a very significant and encouraging step.” “No question there’s a certain amount of people here who will not take on the responsibility that we have to take on to do things to deal with climate change unless China also does,” said Lieberman, whose bipartisan group is looking at ways to increase U.S. nuclear power.
John McCain (R-AZ)
“I think anything China does, if it’s constructive and fixed and measurable, and ascertainable, it’ll be very helpful, absolutely.”
“We’ll see the details. They’ve made similar commitments in the past but haven’t kept them.”
From the Wonk Room.
In Bonn, White House climate negotiator Jonathan Pershing said Obama’s plan to lower greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 is in the overlap of pragmatism and science.
Calling on developed nations to cut greenhouse emissions by “at least 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2020,” small island states say current targets are “going to destroy their countries.”
On Wednesday, 15 Democrats joined every Republican senator to preserve the filibuster against green economy legislation, even if “the Senate finds that public health, the economy and national security of the United States are jeopardized by inaction on global warming.”
From the Wonk Room.
Dan Kammen, the director of the Renewable & Appropriate Energy Laboratory at UC Berkeley and a top adviser to President-elect Barack Obama (D-IL), has told E&E News that Obama may conduct a nationwide “listening tour” to allow his team to hit the ground running for a green recovery:
The incoming Obama team is considering a “listening tour” around the country on energy and environmental issues before Inauguration Day in an attempt to build momentum for its policies and legislative plans.Last month, Obama told Time’s Joe Klein that an “Apollo project” for a “new energy economy” is his top priority:
That’s going to be my No. 1 priority when I get into office.
In Tuesday’s victory speech before a crowd of 125,000 in Chicago’s Grant Park, Obama indicated that listening to all people of this nation will be central to his administration:
There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way its been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.In the 75 days before Obama takes office, he will also have to weigh in on major events already on the calendar:
Green Stimulus. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today announced she hopes to work with the lame-duck Senate and White House to pass a green recovery stimulus bill before the end of the year, including funding for infrastructure projects “in a way that reduces our dependence on foreign oil, creates good green jobs in America.” On the campaign trail, Obama proposed a $190 billion stimulus package that includes green infrastructure and jobs.
International Action. From December 1 to 12, the next round of international climate negotiations takes place in Poznań, Poland. Obama has pledged to send a team of representatives, in what may be his first major act as President-elect on the international stage.
SAIS German Club and Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America: Reinhard Bütifoker, chairman and spokesperson of the German Green Party, will discuss this topic. Refreshments will be served.
Johns Hopkins University Room 812 Rome Building 1619 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C.
For more information and to RSVP, contact email@example.com.
Join us for this public event where women Nobel Peace Laureates and co-founders of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Wangari Maathai and Jody Williams, will discuss their vision of ‘climate justice’ – an approach to climate change that recognizes differential responsibilities for developed and developing countries, and puts the rights of people, especially women, at the center of the climate debate. Pat Mitchell, President of The Paley Center for Media and the former President and CEO of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), will moderate.
- Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.
- Jody Williams, founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, was awarded the Prize in 1997 for her work in creating an international treaty to ban landmines.
Location: Carnegie Institution of Washington
1530 P ST. NW
Washington, D.C. 20035
How other nations adapt to the impacts of climate change will affect critical U.S. security, economic, humanitarian, and environmental interests.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, developing countries face water scarcity, severe weather events, declining agricultural productivity, and increased disease. The consequences will undermine international stability and security as migration and refugee crises, conflicts linked to natural resource scarcity, and economic destabilization all increase.
In order to protect vital U.S. interests, and to promote global economic development, many advocates and governments are urging that the United States and other developed countries assist developing countries so they can adapt to the climate challenge. These issues have recently risen to the forefront both in international negotiations and in Congressional legislation.
Oxfam America and the UN Foundation invite you to a roundtable discussion with foreign policy experts, economists, scientists, non-governmental organizations, and Congressional staff to discuss these critical issues.Presenters
- Nigel Purvis (moderator), Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment & Science and senior U.S. climate change negotiator; Visiting scholar at Resources for the Future and non-resident scholar at The Brookings Institution
- Dr. Saleem Huq, Director of the Climate Change Group, International Institute for Environment and Development; Coordinating Lead Author of the Adaptation and Mitigation chapter in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- Ambassador Angus Friday, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations; Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States
- Dr. William Cline, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development and the Institute for International Economics
- Dr. Sharon Hrynkow, Associate Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
This event is in cooperation with the office of Congressman Donald Payne.
Please RSVP to Mike Helms at Oxfam America at (202) 471-3050 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or Erica Fabo at the UN Foundation at 202-887-9040.
The Washington Conference will take place over two days. The first day will be an intensive expert workshop focusing on emissions from transport and biofuels use; this reflects concerns over the lack of action to address emissions from transport, rising concerns about expanded use of biofuels and pressure from some to include aviation, marine transport and road transport within cap and trade systems.
Day two will be a larger event designed to inform civil society more broadly about the differences and similarities between action in the EU and US, discuss best practice domestic solutions, demystify key policies such as the EU ETS etc. Discussions will predominantly focus on cap and trade, and the differing perceptions of actors on both sides of the Atlantic.
IEEP will be taking experts from the EU over to Washington for the event. European experts would take part in the workshop on day one, and potentially present ideas and concepts from a European perspective on day two.
For more information and background papers from previous T-PAGE discussions, visit the T-PAGE project website.
Location: 1616 P Street, NW, 1st Floor Conference Room
Resources for the Future building
Washington, DC 20036
- Siva Yam, President, United States of America-China Chamber of Commerce
- John Isbell, Global Director of Delivery Logistics, Nike
- Ray Kuntz, Chief Executive Officer, Watkins and Shepard Trucking, On behalf of the American Trucking Associations
- Edward Wytkind, President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
The German Advisory Council on Global Change (BGU) is hosting a Congressional briefing on Climate Change as a Security Risk that will examine how climate change may overstretch many societies’ adaptive capacities, resulting in destabilization and violence and jeopardizing national and international security. It will also discuss how climate change efforts could unite the international community if it recognizes global warming as a threat to humankind and adopts a dynamic and globally coordinated climate policy. The briefing will be held on Tuesday, April 1, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC. For more information contact Mario-Ingo Soos at email@example.com.
Three months after the landmark agreement on a road map towards strengthened international action on climate change reached in Bali, Indonesia, the next round of negotiations shifts to the neighboring country of Thailand and its capital, Bangkok. The talks are taking place between 31 March to 4 April 2008 at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
The climate change talks in Bangkok will convene sessions of both the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (first session) and the Ad hoc Working Group on further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (first part of the fifth session), during which Parties need to advance the Bali Road Map agreed last December.
Parties agreed at Bali to formally launch negotiations on enabling the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention. These negotiations need to conclude in an agreed outcome by the end of 2009.
The challenge is to design a future agreement that will successfully halt the increase in global emissions within the next 10-15 years, dramatically cut back emissions by 2050, and do so in a way that is economically viable and politically equitable worldwide.
The Bangkok meeting of the Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention needs to map out how to tackle this enormous challenge and begin by establishing without delay a clear work programme for the next two years.
Concretely, Parties meeting in Bangkok will identify the areas that need to be further clarified as well as the issues where work needs to be done and in what order that should happen. They will also establish what input is needed from the UN at large, the business sector and others, and how this will be integrated into the overall work plan.
The issues that the new Working Group needs to address were clearly defined at Bali. In addition to the goal of achieving agreement on long-term global action, work on on-going issues such as deforestation and technology needs to be advanced.
The Kyoto Protocol AWG, mandated in 2005 to consider future commitments for Annex I Parties, will initiate the second step of its work programme; in particular, the analysis of possible means available to Annex I Parties to reach their emission reduction targets. It will provide an informal setting for input from experts and for Parties to present their views on the issues related to the different means, as well as on how to enhance their effectiveness and contribution to sustainable development. Issues under consideration include emissions trading and the project based mechanisms, land use, land-use change and forestry, greenhouse gases, sectors and source categories to be covered, and possible approaches targeting sectoral emissions. These themes will be addressed in an in-session thematic workshop.
For both groups, work will continue at the twenty-eighth session of the Subsidiary Bodies to be held in Bonn in June. After that, both groups will reconvene at a week-long intersessional meeting at the end of August before meeting again at the fourteenth session of the Conference of the Parties and the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Poland in December.