On December 5, 2011, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern participated in a press briefing at the 17th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-17) in Durban, South Africa. During the press briefing, Special Envoy Stern said:
"I'm pleased to be here representing the U.S. We thank the government of South Africa for the impressive task of hosting an enormous meeting like this, and we look forward to working with the president, the South African Presidency, and the government of South Africa in pursuing what we hope will be a successful outcome.
"I got here on, I guess late Friday night, and I spent the weekend moving around in a significant number of meetings with my counterparts, discussing the various open issues of which there are a number and how we might be able to move towards compromise. And obviously I will continue that process this week. The pace and intensity of meetings will undoubtedly increase. We have five days here which is maybe not a lifetime, but a long time, in the world of COPs. The U.S. is committed to working with our partners to make Durban a success, and for us a balanced package in Durban includes two main elements, two main elements of this negotiation, I think, in general.
"One is to carry out the agreements that were reached in last year's Cancun negotiation which was a very important negotiation that included for the first time, in an agreement adopted by the COP, undertakings by all the major economies, and many players beyond that, actually, to reduce their emissions as well as a transparency regime, an agreement to set up a Green Climate Fund, a technology center network, an adaptation committee and so forth. So there are important elements of what should become the architecture of an international climate system, and we did those things last year in the sense of agreeing to do them and now we need to follow through and do them. And what can happen this year in Durban is to take important steps to do the guidelines of the transparency system, get the Green Fund going, get the technology center going and so forth, and there will obviously still be further work in the coming year to make those, to get those things fully up and running. But there is important work to be done in that regard here, and that's probably the highest priority for the United States.
"The second set of issues swirls around the Kyoto Protocol, what happens with respect to a potential second commitment period and the closely related issue of what might or might not be said about some future regime. So that's also an issue of a good deal of intensity and focus, and there will be a lot of discussion about that as we go forward this week."
You can read the full transcript of the briefing here.