The Pre-Blame Game

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The Copenhagen climate summit is one part negotiation and one part blame game—or, more accurately, don’t-blame-me game.

When US climate change envoy Todd Stern arrived at the massive Bella Center for the first time and held a press conference on Wednesday, he noted he would be working for the “strongest possible agreement.” He quickly ticked off all the actions unilaterally taken by the Obama administration to redress climate change: boosting fuel economy standards, designating greenhouse gases a threat to human health that should be regulated under the Clean Air Act, and establishing a regime to measure and monitor global warming gases produced by major emitters. He fiercely defended the administration’s proposed reduction in emissions—about 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Knowing that the United States has been widely criticized for not offering to cut more—and that the Europeans have agreed to deeper cuts—he pointed out that the US reductions would accelerate in the following years. He also said that the United States was ready to start financing an international fund to help poorer countries deal with climate change. And he reminded his audience that President Barack Obama would be attending the summit. The message: we’re committed, and this summit could work.

Then Stern turned to China. “We need significant action by major developing nations,” he said. He noted that that 97 percent of the growth in emissions in the next decade will come from developing nations, and half of that increase will come from China. “There is no way to solve this problem with giving developing countries a pass.” The message: if there’s no good deal nine days from now, it’s not our fault.

While it does seem that most governments would prefer to see a strong climate agreement reached in Copenhagen, they recognize that due to serious conflicts, that might not happen. Consequently, they are preparing for a storm of finger-pointing. Read about their pre-blame game positioning here.

 

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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