EDF Talks Global Climate

EDF in the News: Today’s Copenhagen Roundup

EDF’s presence at Copenhagen is getting a lot of media attention. Check out some of the stories that quote our experts:

The Financial Times writes about carbon trading, and talks to EDF’s Jennifer Haverkamp about ways to fund cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Jennifer says:

Any treaty must be adequately financed, and since the the bulk of climate finance will flow through the private sector, it’s crucial that carbon markets work.

When the climate talks hit a snag because of objections from the African delegation, the New York Times talked to EDF’s Gus Silva-Chavez:

On the one hand, people expected it. But they didn’t expect it to be such a red line. You’re shutting down the negotiations two days before the ministers start their jobs. This is going to anger a lot of developed countries.

Later, when developing countries ended their boycott of the climate talks, Gus spoke again — this time to the Associated Press.

And EDF’s Steve Schwartzman talked to the San Diego Union Tribune about deforestation, the growing “subnational” movement, and the efforts of the governors of the nine Amazon states to fight climate change. As Steve points out:

Once you start looking at the forest as an asset, deforestation becomes a liability.

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Ministers arrive, demonstrators hit streets

Climate talks ramped up a level Saturday as high-level ministers arrived and went behind closed doors to hash out differences over negotiating texts.

But the real excitement was in downtown Copenhagen, where tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in the streets to voice their support for strong action to stop climate change.

Desmond Tutu led a peaceful candle light vigil. And a few hundred demonstrators who got rowdy early on quickly found themselves lined up and handcuffed by Danish police.

Police line up Copenhagen demonstrators

Police line up Copenhagen demonstrators

A contingent of demonstrators marched across town to the Bella Center where ministers were expected to continue talks through the weekend. Here’s a link to a CNN story on the march.

Inside the Bella Center, the chair’s draft text released Friday opened up fault lines over finance numbers and compliance rules.

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Lisa Jackson Speaks at Copenhagen: “We Won’t Ignore Science”

lisa jackson copenhagenThe Obama administration is heeding science to address climate change and protect human health, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson told an overflowing crowd in the U.S. delegation’s meeting room in Copenhagen this afternoon. Jackson won a round of applause from the audience, which included business representatives and members of non-governmental organizations.

Her speech highlighted EPA’s new endangerment finding, which she signed hours before boarding the plane to Copenhagen on Monday. The finding concluded that greenhouse gases pose a threat to health and welfare. She said 2009:

will be seen as the year the U.S. government began to seriously address greenhouse gases … Climate change is real, and now is the time to act.

Jackson said the Obama Administration will work with Congress to develop clean energy reform while letting the science “speak for itself.”

Update: Here’s the text of Jackson’s remarks.

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Dueling Op-Eds on Copenhagen

Let’s start with the good news first: Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp wrote an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal outlining the need for the Copenhagen talks to make progress toward an effective verification and compliance system in a final agreement.

Fred says:

The road to a serious global agreement goes through the U.S. Congress… The task, then, for U.S. negotiators and their counterparts, is to focus on establishing the fundamental building blocks for an effective treaty that can be finalized in 2010.

He then lists those building blocks as:

  • Inclusiveness
  • Financing
  • Verifiability and compliance

Read the whole piece for insight into each point.

Now the bad news: Sarah Palin wrote an op-ed in today’s Washington Post that purports to be about Copenhagen, but really just rehashes “climate-gate.” The piece tries to paint global warming as purely political issue and dismisses the underlying science. Read at your own risk. Media Matters has posted a thorough fact-check of the piece.

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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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Copenhagen Controversy: “Danish Text” Stirs the Pot

Climate delegates in Copenhagen are buzzing about a leaked proposal from the Danish contingent.

The document, now being referred to as the Danish text, is a draft for a political agreement on climate change. It was leaked to the Guardian newspaper, which says it was written by delegates for a handful of developed countries including Denmark, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

Developing countries are reportedly furious because the text calls for them to take far more action to reduce global warming emissions than the Kyoto protocal did.  According to the Guardian, developing nations say the text is biased against them, and they object to its being created without their input.

But others, including delegates for Environmental Defense Fund, point out that any draft document is only a starting point for negotiations.

According to EDF’s climate specialist Gus Silva-Chavez:

It is far better to start with a strong proposal in the first few days then to start negotiations on something that has already been watered down. The leaked document clearly shows ambition, although there are clearly areas that are vague or need improvement, like the parts about compliance. It reflects a clear desire from the Danes to reduce global emissions as soon as possible, and with efforts from both developed and developing countries.

A counter proposal from the BASIC countries is expected to be announced today or tomorrow.  That could help quell fears, reported in the Guardian, that the Danish text will be ramrodded through the treaty negotiations.

Gus will continue watching the situation, and we’ll post updates as it unfolds.

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