Durban Update: First US Press Briefing and a Letter to Hilary Clinton
The head of the US delegation, Jonathan Pershing, gave the United States' first press briefing in Durban on Monday. The theme of Pershing's remarks was that the US does not expect a new emissions regime before 2020. Instead, the US priority in Durban will be "making fully operational the key elements we agreed in Cancun," including operationalizing the Green Climate Fund, the Technology Center and Committee, and Adaptation Committee. With regards to KP, Pershing stated that "the United States is not Party to the Kyoto Protocol, so we will not weigh in on the Kyoto debate." On the Green Climate Fund, Pershing stated that "we want to see the Green Fund move forward as part of a Durban package," but noted that "our substantive concerns about the report produced by the Transitional Committee are real and need to be addressed in order for the U.S. to be able to support this fund. We believe these issues can be fixed."
US NGO Letter to Secretary Clinton
On Tuesday, the CEOs of 16 US environment NGOs sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking for the US to take a leadership role in Durban. They asked the US to drop its demand that emerging economies commit to greater international scrutiny of their mitigation actions and to legally binding emissions commitments, stating that "It will clearly not be possible to reach consensus on these issues in Durban; insisting on their inclusion in a mandate sends the signal that the U.S. does not support such a mandate. This is a lost opportunity. The U.S. should be working with the EU, China and others to make this type of a mandate possible, not rejecting it out of hand because it doesn't guarantee all of the U.S. negotiating objectives." They also criticized US intransigence on disucssions around sources of long-term climate finance.
For more, read this Washington Post blog post.