Bonn opens with applause, for US

The Bonn climate talks opened today in a way that would have been unimaginable just six months ago. The US delegation addressed the opening plenary, and got a steady round of applause.

It caught me off guard because Bonn started out like any other session: I got lost on the way to the hotel, was pamphleted by Greenpeace out front, waited in line to register, then ran around for two hours looking for meeting rooms and various colleagues. Of course I knew US climate envoy Todd Stern would speak at the opening plenary, but by the time I arrived there I hadn’t had time to consider what I expected him to say. The applause sort of shook me back to reality.

Bonn day 1 plenary
Todd Stern addresses Bonn opening plenary

To be fair, Stern didn’t have to do much to please this audience, which spent the last eight years being stonewalled by the Bush administration. He probably could have just walked up on stage, raised his fists in the air and said, I’m here! In fact, I think the line that drew the most applause was a call to make up for lost time. So clearly the bar was set pretty low.

But Stern’s speech was also a good speech, and here is why. Five hours later at the Bonn opening reception, everyone was still talking about what he said. Of course everyone was going to parse his words for clues to Obama’s new climate policies, and criticize US carbon targets, which could be more aggressive, but it was encouraging that there was enough substance there to keep us parsing for five hours. We have a lot to discuss to reach a climate deal in December. It’s good to have everyone talking.

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One Comment

  1. junk2rubbish
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    As ususal the same old bandwagon is assembling with the same old ‘projections’ based on heavily flawed computer-models based on surface temperature-data taken from badly kept measuring systems rather than modern satellite systems, which continue to show little if any warming. Very little attention will be paid to the fact that global warming has not just reached a plateau but acutally peaked with the 1998 el-nino ten years ago. There will be more calls for government taxes from this multi-government organisation in order to ‘stabilize’ climate – ignoring the fact that since the world began, climate has always changed. When the peoples of the world can least afford it, a huge waste of money!

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