Copenhagen: U.S. Climate Envoy in the House

U.S. Climate Envoy Todd Stern arrived in Copenhagen this morning …  and by mid-afternoon was already on stage conducting his first press conference.

When reporters started asking about the state of negotiations, he reminded them: 

I just got off the plane, had a shower and came straight over here.

As the first ever U.S. climate envoy appointed to spearhead American global leadership on climate in multilateral negotiations, Stern’s mere presence in Copenhagen signals the seriousness of U.S. commitment to stopping global warming.

But we’re a long way from March, when Stern got a standing ovation just for showing up at climate talks and telling delegates that the Obama administration won’t deny scienctific evidence of rising temperatures and melting glaciers.

Stern made it pretty clear he’s not expecting sugary smiles and lots of thanks here in Copenhagen. When one reporter asked what President Obama will have to do to get a standing ovation, Stern said:

When I got that standing ovation in March, I told myself that’s it, I’ve peaked, and I think that’s true. President Obama has had a lot more standing ovations than I have, and I’m sure it would be nice to get one here but he’s not expecting it. We’re not worried about standing ovations, we’re here to get a deal done.

Stern also answered serious and substantive questions about U.S. positions on climate for the next 30 minutes. The UNFCCC has video of the entire news conference on its web site.

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