In remarks to the press on December 1, the third day of the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Deputy Special Envoy Jonathan Pershing stressed that the agreements reached in Cancun must make progress on all of the major issues, including mitigation, transparency, financing, adaptation, technology, and forests. In addition, he said that success requires all parties to move forward and that the environment cannot afford for us to wait.
Deputy Special Envoy Pershing said, "We decided we'd tried to be fairly frequent in these so while there's not a great deal of change since I saw you last, I thought it would be useful to give you an update on how we see things moving. So let me do that first, with an update about where the negotiations stand.
"Before I do that I wanted to do one additional thing. That is an advantage of having the podium. I know that many of you are spending your time here but there, as you probably know, is also a large exhibit space at Cancun Messe. The United States has got a space there. We brought a number of our experts from the U.S. down to make presentations; have a series of panel discussions on a variety of different issues covering what the U.S. is doing at home, technology developments underway, scientific developments underway in the United States, and I think that might be of quite broad interest. A lot of it will be webcast live. If you're interested in taking a look at it the information is available and the webcasts will be available at www.state.gov/COP16, so you'll have information, quite a lot of breadth of information, both on U.S. programs and U.S. activities."
He continued, "We turn for just a minute to the negotiations and what is going on.""In the last couple of days the focus has been really a combination of formal opening statements and then the initial round of exchanges between countries on a quite wide range of issues under consideration.
"We are now about to start diving into greater detail, we'll start working in smaller groups and we'll begin to negotiate specific texts of the decisions. The negotiations will primarily take place in contact groups, will be under the guidance of facilitators who have been tasked to help find consensus. Today, and likely the rest of this week and next week, we'll be focusing intensely on working toward this agreement.
"Where is the U.S. in all of this? Some of you might not have been here on Monday, so I want to reiterate just a few of the comments I made then. We are committed to achieving a successful outcome here in Cancun that builds on the progress made last year in Copenhagen and takes another step forward in our collective approach to the climate challenge.
"We are seeking a balanced package of decisions, one that preserves the balance of the Accord from Copenhagen, which was something that our President, along with many other world leaders, directly negotiated and to which a large majority of the world's nations have subscribed. Agreements here in Cancun should make progress on all of the key issues -- mitigation, transparency, financing, adaptation, technology, and forests, or as it's known here, REDD.
"To get to this outcome, which advances the global effort to mitigate climate change, we are prepared to be pragmatic and flexible. Others must be too. Just as there is a way forward to make progress on such things as a Green Fund and REDD, there is equally a way forward with transparency and with anchoring mitigation commitments.
"Capturing progress in all elements of the negotiations, maintaining the carefully crafted balance of the Copenhagen Accord and moving one step closer to meeting this challenge is absolutely doable.
"There are many encouraging proposals already on the table that could help lead to agreement on a set of robust decisions. These include proposals to start standing up a Green Fund with governance systems that will encourage donors to contribute, to create a new technology mechanism that takes advantage of existing fora and global technology expertise, to start implementing significant mitigation commitments, to put in place a system of transparency and accountability -- the so-called MRV and ICA provisions -- and to make real progress on adaptation and on forest protection. Decisions in each of these areas would establish blueprints guiding our next steps to a fully operational package.
"Success here will require all Parties to move forward, for all Parties to take the necessary steps to agree to these decisions. The United States will spare no effort to work with our international partners to reach this outcome. There is no reason we cannot get full, robust operational decisions in all of these areas. But all Parties have to be pragmatic, not allow ideology to stand in the way of progress, and recognize that the only way forward is with a balanced package of decisions. The environment cannot afford for us to delay and wrangle over issues on which we can now, and should now, agree."
You can read Deputy Special Envoy Pershing's full remarks here.