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President Obama will not be attending the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainability.   He will be sending a strong surrogate in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who will lead the American delegation.  Clinton will be joined by Lisa Jackson Head of the EPA and the White House environmental official Nancy Sutley as well as state department envoys in charge of international climate change negotiations.

Can't say I'm surprised that the President will not attend as politically it adds another deeply polarizing issue to the 2012 campaign.  Though in an ideal world he would attend which would encourage Merkel and Cameron and some others who have said they will not attend to rethink.   He would then give global leadership to the conference, commit the US to sustainable goals and upon his return the republicans would be so impressed that the congress would pass legislation to finally commit the US to a sustainable future.   Yep,  I'm in major fantasizing mode because we all know none of that will happen.

I do think that sending Clinton is a good move as she will be pushing for her new Clean Air and Climate Coalition which is promoting the global reduction of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP).   This is actually a solution that can work to reduce emissions rapidly.   As we now know C02 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years so even if we eliminated all carbon emissions tomorrow there would still be the damaging remains of the past use of C02 lingering in the atmosphere preventing us from stopping the most damaging effects of Climate Change.  So reducing the SLCP can buy us the time to reduce C02

The fact that Clinton has been involved in stressing solutions to climate change makes her the ideal representative at this time. We all know that Clinton is a tough negotiator so I'm hoping that she will have success in developing her Coalition.  This can make a positive outcome to the meeting and our fight against the worst effects of climate change.

Originally posted to beach babe in fl on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by RoadtoRio.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Glad to see this happen. (3+ / 0-)

    Not sure what it'll do...

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 09:01:42 PM PDT

  •  "tough negotiator" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WarrenS, beach babe in fl, koNko

    may be just the opposite of what we want, as far as the U.S. is concerned. If you check out boatsie's diary earlier, the problem with the U.S. is that it's too often a tough negotiator for the wrong things in the wrong direction. Not saying that sending Hillary Clinton is a bad idea, but I wouldn't put too much stock into her changing the outcome of the negotiations. I'm always hopeful, of course, but my biggest excitement is with what's happening outside the main negotiation halls.  

  •  I honestly hope (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beach babe in fl

    The Clean Air and Climate Coalition turns out to more than the wealthy nation club it appears to be, because we need all the help we can muster.

    Clinton has, to some extent, supported environmentalism vis a vis The Center for American Progress, where a friend of mine had a one year fellowship before moving on to the DoE, but she has also tended to use environmental issues a a political wedge between nations at State, so let's see where it goes.

    Perhaps by political necessity, the Obama Administration has tended to speak with a forked tongue on the environment and certainly played both sides of the fence in the UNFCCC process, continuing the policy and tactics of the Bush Administration while grandstanding as a consensus builder, but on the other hand, I do give Obama credit for using his discretionary powers and budget to prime the pump (despite a few mis-steps).

    So I'd also look for him to take a firmer advocacy position in a second term.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:42:04 AM PDT

    •  not a wealthy nation club take a look at... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the membership which also now includes the members of the G8

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 10:00:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which G8? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        beach babe in fl

        Seems only some G8 countries are members.

        Oh, Canada! How Ironic. Where were they and what were they doing when UN agreements were being negotiated in Durban?

        I am definitely for international cooperation, but rather skeptical about some of these clubish talk-shops when the talk doesn't match the walk.

        The listed initiatives sound good, but I'd like to know what the USA and Canada are going to do to accomplish "Speeding up cuts in methane and other emissions from the oil and gas industry". Maybe there will be an exemption for fracking?

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:24:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  members G8 below... (0+ / 0-)

          Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.  The European Union is also represented at meetings by both the president of the European Commission and the leader of the country that has European Union presidency.

          Yes, i agree re Canada=hypocrite

          This is a new initiative so we will have to see what happens.  Clinton has been moving it pretty fast and I think she understands this may be a last hope for rapid reduction of emissions.   Her presence is a good indication that it will be pushed.   Also Obama sending a top surrogate is also a good omen imo

          Macca's Meatless Monday

          by VL Baker on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 01:33:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Correct (0+ / 0-)

            But I didn't see most of the G8 members on the list at the linked page, hence my question.

            Again, I'm not against any initiative that furthers the agenda, just a bit skeptical about breakout groups with members that fail to make real commitments on one  hand, and then champions voluntary activities on the other, because some of these things have turned out to be little more that greenwashing exercises.

            The talk sounds good, now let's see where the walk goes.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 02:28:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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