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by Craig Louis Stehr
Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009 at 5:59 PM
email@example.com 593 62nd Street, Oakland, CA 94609-1246
On Nov. 23, 2009, a discussion regarding the global climate negotiation process with Jonathan Pershing (#2 U.S. climate negotiator), was held in Washington D.C. This was simulcast to the UC Berkeley Boalt School of Law, UCLA school of law, and took place at UC's extension in D.C.
The speaker began with a lengthy description, and analysis, of the global climate negotiation process from Kyoto 1997 forward. He stated that he believes that the ongoing process is working well, that recent agreements with China are cause for optimism, and that the current U.S. administration's commitment is significant. He pointed out that there is a difference in perspectives. For example, he explained that because he is a geologist by training, he considers 100 years to be a relatively short period of time, since he usually thinks in terms of hundreds of millions of years. He understands that someone living on an island which may be submerged has a different perspective. In response to a question regarding the appropriateness of making policy from a perspective of those facing dire consequences, he said that globally "we can't get there ". He continued explaining that due to the self interests of, particularly, the larger industrial and industrial-emerging nations, the current process as it is was the best one could reasonably hope for.
The gist of the two hour discussion, was that the United States of America will continue being an enthusiastic participant in the process. He said that president Barack Obama will commit to a percentage number in terms of emission reductions before the start of COP15 in Copenhagen, December 7th. Also, it is not certain whether president Obama will attend the COP15. He will be in Oslo in early December, and there is a possibility that he will drop by. The negotiator noted that there is value in having heads of state show up, because it indicates a willingness to succeed.
I do not know if a film copy of yesterday's discussion with Jonathan Pershing is available. Perhaps contacting either UC Berkeley or UCLA's school of law would be the best place to direct that question.
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