Climate Week Gives Momentum to the Bangkok Negotiations-Hard Work Starts Now

Climate Week is wrapping up but the political signal that was sent is clear: the world’s political leaders are serious about getting a deal in Copenhagen. During this week, the UN Secretary General hosted an all-day session on global warming for country leaders from around the world, there was a high-level session on deforestation that my colleague Annie Petsonk attended (read her blog), and the G20 Summit in Pittsburg kicked off.

President Obama said it best—“We have sought — in word and deed — a new era of engagement with the world. And now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.” However, the world’s leaders must continue to remain engaged on this issue and must spend the rest of the days leading up to Copenhagen actively crafting the building blocks of the Copenhagen global deal. Given that everyone is waiting for the US to take the lead and enact a strong cap-and-trade bill, President Obama must continue to show leadership at home and abroad.

While some expressed disappointment that there were no numbers put on the table and no major global deal was signed during Climate Week, we must remember that the proper forum for a global deal is in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the proper meeting for that global agreement will be in Copenhagen. Climate Week allowed the leader’s of the world to make public statements on global warming on a world stage and provide political momentum. But now those leaders must instruct their negotiators to start negotiating and to work with other countries to ensure that a global deal that reduces global emissions, protects forests and provides financial resources and clean technology for developing countries can be ready by December.

The upcoming Bangkok climate meetings (Sep 28-October 9) now have the political and legal mandate at the highest political levels to start negotiations. Negotiators must finally begin the hard work of making the necessary deals and compromises to reduce the length of the current negotiating text (NT). The text is publicly available here. The EDF team will be in Bangkok actively advocating our proposals and explaining the latest developments in the US Senate. Next week, the Boxer-Kerry bill is expected to be released. Forward progress on a strong Senate bill will add even more momentum to the negotiations and increase the odds of a Copenhagen global deal.

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