Category Archives: United States

Three ways for Peru to secure progress on the road to COP20 in Lima

By Guy Edwards and Timmons Roberts

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This year Lima will host the next major round of UN Climate Change negotiations. The opportunity to establish climate change as a key domestic issue and achieve progress at the UN negotiations will not come around for another generation.

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Running from Climate Change: The Obama Administration’s Changing Rhetoric

President Obama at COP15, AFP Photo

 

By Graciela Kincaid

At both President Obama’s “job speech” to the Joint Session of Congress and his speech at the Clinton Global Initiative last September, one issue was shockingly absent from the agenda: climate change. The term was scarcely mentioned in either speech, and more surprisingly, the administration also failed to deliver on the more popular message of clean energy. For all the talk of job creation and economic growth, the role of green jobs and a potential transition to a green economy were missing from the dialogue. In fact, lately the green jobs issue has taken a serious hit because green innovation has not been proven to create enough immediate “boots, jeans and helmets” jobs.

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Jonathan Pershing Frames the US Stance in Durban

By Graciela Kincaid

On November 29th, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing swept into the US Delegation Offices and jumped into a 45-minute session regarding the US position at the negotiations. He held the invited American students enraptured, deftly framing the key issues for the American delegation and responding to questions. He provided an essential context through which to assess US action this week and next in Durban. Continue reading

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US Players: Days Before Durban

By Kelly Rogers

On Monday, delegates from around the world will convene in Durban, South Africa for a two-week Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Delegates will pick up where last year’s Cancun negotiations left off, particularly concerning the contentious Green Climate Fund. At home in the US, spectators are watching our delegation’s position on the Fund–chiefly as it relates to public vs. private sector involvement. Recent reports about the lack of Congressional representation in the US delegation have observers worried about the domestic political viability of US promises made in Durban.
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Climate Skepticism Abounds in US & UK Media

By Graciela Kincaid and Spencer Fields

Ninety-seven percent of self-identified actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate change is human-caused. Scientifically, anthropogenic climate change is a hard reality. Yet politically the debate remains extremely polarized–and the media has failed in its role as referee. The opinions of climate skeptics and deniers continue to appear in our nation’s top newspapers, television broadcasts, and radio outlets. Continue reading

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Domestic politics frustrate U.S. – Latin American cooperation on climate change


By Guy Edwards and Kelly Rogers

As U.S. influence in Latin America continues its downward trajectory, the complex domestic situation in Washington D.C. risks jeopardizing greater cooperation on climate change. Although the vote in the House of Representatives to end the U.S.’s annual $48.5 million contribution to the Organization of American States (OAS) is unlikely to pass Congress, the vote was indicative of reactionary thinking on Latin America and the complex domestic political and economic environment.

The vote over the proposed cuts to the OAS reveals conservatives dislike of the OAS’s secretary-general, José Miguel Insulza, who they criticize for being too soft on leftist autocrats threatening democracy and media freedom. Those against the vote respond that it could undermine a unique channel for U.S. multilateral engagement in the region. With Latin American countries’ growing independence and willingness to engage with external actors such as China and India, the U.S. cannot afford to miss opportunities to improve hemispheric relations. Continue reading