Bush Climate Ambassador: Very Confident for Agreement in Copenhagen

by | Dec 9, 2008

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Kevin Tuerff, CEO, Green Canary Sustainability Consulting, is reporting for us all week from Poznan, Poland.

What a difference a year makes.

Last year, U.S. government negotiators were booed by several ministers of 190 nations attending the United Nations Climate Change conference in Bali.

Today, the head climate negotiator from the Bush Administration was introduced at the same annual conference as “His Excellency Harlon Watson,” when he spoke to more than 150 global business executives about U.N. climate change policy. He spoke at Poznan Business Day, sponsored by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the International Chamber of Commerce.

Watson updated the businesses on the progress of the two-week negotiations in Poznan: “I personally am optimistic at this point. I think things are moving well. I’m very confident there is going to be an agreed outcome in Copenhagen. I’ve been quoted as saying it may not be the final, final. This process is going to be ongoing. It’s going to take decades and decades ahead. One meeting is not going to solve the climate problem.”

Despite his optimism, Ambassador Watson was skeptical about how 190 governments would fund climate change mitigation and adaptation, saying the $150 billion per year price tag was “well beyond the reach from governments to provide that.”

Mr. Watson made no mention of the incoming Obama Administration. However, French Ambassador Brice Lalonde, speaking to the same group after Mr. Watson, praised Obama’s commitment to the 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050, which was never acceptable to the Bush Administration.

As representatives for the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development, Green Canary Sustainability Consulting principals were among a handful of U.S.-based companies in the audience.

Senator John Kerry is expected in Poznan December 10, and former Vice President Al Gore is rumored to speak on the last day of the conference, December 12. Despite all the warm feelings, American environmental groups aren’t celebrating. Organizations like Environmental Defense are here in force, urging federal action in 2009 before the Copenhagen Protocol is adopted.

Kevin Tuerff, CEO, Green Canary Sustainability Consulting, is reporting for Environmental Leader from Poznan, Poland.  

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