The first round of UNFCCC negotiations in 2009 started this week in Bonn, Germany, with the much-hailed opening comments from Todd Stern, the United States’ lead negotiator on climate change.
Given that the U.S. Congress is at the beginning of discussions about domestic climate legislation and that these are the first international negotiations for Obama’s climate team, nobody was expecting Stern to say much in terms of specifics.
But what was hoped for, and what he seems to have delivered, is a commitment from the United States to engage “powerfully, fervently” on international climate negotiations.
Stern also set clear expectations that the United States alone cannot solve this problem, and that all countries will need to work together to come up with a solution. Stern called for China and other major developing countries to be involved.
While just a baby step given all that needs to get done this year, Stern’s comments were met with sustained applause as delegates from around the world welcomed the United States’ return to international negotiations after an eight-year hiatus.
These negotiations are anticipated to end with a new global climate agreement in December 2009 in Copenhagen. The Nature Conservancy has a small but global delegation participating in the Bonn meetings and providing our ground-truthed perspectives on how to use the power of nature to reduce carbon emissions and build resilience to climate change impacts. We will be covering the negotiations throughout the year so check back for more.
(Image: Climate change talks begin in Bonn. Source: UNFCCC)