UN official 'encouraged' by new US stance on reaching climate change pact

6 March 2009

There is “enthusiasm” in the current United States Government to pass laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a willingness to work towards a new global climate change pact, a top United Nations official said today.

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was speaking to journalists in New York after returning from his recent trip to Washington, D.C., where he met with leaders in US President Barack Obama's administration, as well as members of Congress.

“I must say I come back from those meetings very much encouraged,” Mr. de Boer stated.

“There is, I believe, a huge enthusiasm and energy in both the House and the Senate to put cap and trade climate change legislation in place in this country,” he added.

Mr. de Boer also underscored the willingness in the current US administration “to work towards an agreement in Copenhagen, to come with an ambitious domestic policy [and] to engage with international partners” to come to an accord.

At the UN climate change conference slated for December in Copenhagen countries are expected to reach agreement on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, the legally binding regime for reducing greenhouse gas emissions whose first commitment period ends in 2012.

Mr. de Boer noted that the US administration realised that financial support for developing countries to help them adapt to becoming more environmentally friendly and mitigate their carbon emissions is going to be an essential part of the Copenhagen “puzzle.”

“The new administration with the full backing of the House and the Senate is working towards and ambitious agreement in Copenhagen,” said Mr. de Boer.

The climate change official also found encouragement in the US economic stimulus package, saying that “What I believe President Obama is trying to do is use the recovery money to create the clean economy of tomorrow instead of trying to prop up the economy of yesterday.”


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