U.S. must not stymie progress on global climate deal at UN negotiations, 16 organizations urge Secretary Clinton

Secretary of State should direct U.S. negotiators to show more flexibility on mandate for future negotiations and finance issues

November 30, 2011
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Jennifer Andreassen, S.A. mobile 072 632 2755, U.S. mobile +1-202-288-4867, jandreassen@edf.org

(DURBAN, South Africa – Nov. 30, 2011)  U.S. negotiators must stop blocking progress at global climate negotiations now underway in Durban, South Africa, the CEOs of 16 major non-governmental organizations told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

“America risks being viewed not as a global leader on climate change, but as a major obstacle to progress,” the groups, including Environmental Defense Fund, said in a letter

In particular, the groups said the U.S. positions on the mandate for future negotiations and climate finance “threaten to impede in Durban the global cooperation so desperately needed to address the threat of climate change.” 

“Domestically, despite the cacophony coming from Congress, the U.S. is making major strides using existing legal authorities to reduce air pollution from power plants, mobile sources, and factories in ways that will also significantly reduce U.S. carbon emissions over the next several years,” said Jennifer Haverkamp, EDF’s international climate program director. 

“However, that doesn’t make up for the fact that the U.S. is going out of its way to stymie progress in Durban toward a binding new agreement.  In the remaining week and a half in Durban, the U.S. needs to clear the way for countries to move forward on preventing the catastrophic effect of global warming.”

The group called out the U.S. for setting preconditions on a mandate to launch negotiations for a comprehensive binding climate  regime, knowing such terms could not be agreed to at this time.  Instead, those terms should be part of the negotiations once launched, said the groups.  They also urged the U.S. to work to resolve issues involving the Green Climate Fund.

The groups again flagged their unhappiness with the U.S. opposition to the European Union’s pioneering anti-pollution law for aviation, calling for the U.S. to end its opposition to include aviation emissions within the European Union Emissions Trading System.

Signers of the letter include: Center for International Environmental Law, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace USA, National Tribal Environmental Council, Native American Rights Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oxfam America, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Population Action International, Population Connection, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Wilderness Society, and World Wildlife Fund.

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