On the first day of the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing addressed the press. Deputy Special Envoy Pershing highlighted the progress made a year ago in Copenhagen, as well as the importance of moving forward to address climate change in Cancun now.
He said, "The United States arrives here eager to work with our international partners, to take another important step forward in our collective efforts to meet the growing climate challenge. Throughout the year, our sights have been set on trying to find a way to build on the progress made last year in Copenhagen -- and in particular in the Copenhagen Accord. In Copenhagen, through the direct participation of many of the world's leaders, including President Obama, progress was made on all key elements of the negotiations.
"At the heart of the Accord, on the one hand, was a crucial agreement among both developed and developing countries to implement a set of mitigation targets or actions, and to do so in an internationally transparent manner. On the other hand, there were critical provisions for financing for developing countries in order to support, mitigation, adaptation, technology, forest protection and preservation, known as REDD in this context. Taken together these two pieces reflect and create a landmark, balanced agreement which accommodated and created broad support.
"What we are seeking here in Cancun is a balanced package of decisions that will build on this agreement. Such decisions, which preserve the balance of the Accord, will be a positive and very meaningful outcome. If Parties here are prepared to take the necessary steps forward, I think we can achieve this goal.
"Specifically, I think that if countries take a determined and pragmatic view, we can make progress on anchoring mitigation pledges; we can make progress on putting in place a system of measurement reporting and verification, including international consultations and analysis; we can make progress on creating a Green Fund; we can make progress on creating a new technology mechanism; and we can make progress on adaptation and on REDD. Balanced advances in all of these would be an important contribution to dealing with the climate change problem. However, as we have said all year, moving ahead on a few issues deemed by some to be easy, or holding off on others deemed by some to be difficult, is not a path for success.
"A balanced package is within our reach. To grasp it we must be pragmatic, we must be flexible, and we must stand behind the underpinnings of what our leaders agreed to last year. The United States is standing behind the commitments we made in Copenhagen. We remain committed to President Obama's pledge announced in Copenhagen last year, for a working reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in a range of 17 percent below the 2005 levels by 2020. We are also aggressively working to deliver on our fast start commitment, beginning with our 2010 financing. We have worked to secure a large package of funding with a total contribution in 2010 fiscal year of about $1.7 billion. This represents an enormous increase of climate finance to help developing countries with projects ranging from adaptation activities in small island states to helping Andean nations address the impacts of tropical glacier retreat, to clean energy programs in Africa. This funding is one example of how we are holding up our end of the balance.
"We expect to have a number of high-level officials participating in the session and attending here in Cancun. The head of the delegation at the high-level session next week will be U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern. The U.S. will also be represented by the Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu, the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley. These individuals will be participating in events that underscore our own collective and their agency's specific role in transitions to clean energy economies and securing a comprehensive global response to this challenge.
"So let me repeat, we are extremely eager to make progress here in Cancun, and we are determined to do everything we can to ensure that happens."
You can read Deputy Special Envoy Pershing's complete remarks here.
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