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US names new climate change envoy

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : The US has named a new climate change envoy to “vigorously pursue negotiations” with the world’s other major polluters to reach a deal that will cut emissions of greenhouse gases considered the chief cause of global warming.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday named Todd Stern as part of a bolstered US presence on the international stage to address global warming hours after President Barack Obama said America is ready to lead a “truly global coalition” to meet the challenge, but nations like China and India too must do their part.

Stern, who served as a senior adviser to former president Bill Clinton, will become the country’s chief climate negotiator with the international community, which is hoping to agree to a new climate treaty by the end of this year. He will also be involved in domestic US efforts to reduce pollution.

“We have no shortage of evidence that our world is facing a climate crisis,” Hillary Clinton said. “No solution is possible without all major emitting nations joining together and playing an important part.” But unlike Obama, she did not name either China or India.

Stern led the US delegation to the Kyoto talks in 1997, which established the first ever global climate treaty. World leaders have set a deadline of December to work out a successor to the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which the US never joined.

Announcing Stern’s appointment, Hillary Clinton said: “As we take steps at home, we will also vigorously pursue negotiations, those sponsored by the United Nations and those at the subglobal, regional and bilateral level, that can lead to binding international climate agreement.”

Hillary Clinton said the USAID agency is already a leader in advancing climate, clean energy and conservation activities in the developing world.

The State Department’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science (OES) too had just recently established a new programme that will link US West Coast cities with Chinese and Indian cities to transfer clean energy technology, she said.

The US, she said was committed to building on this work, to help developing nations build efficient and environmentally sustainable energy infrastructures through technology transfer, adaptation assistance and support for environmental mitigation, so that nations have the tools and the means to address this crisis.

“If we are smart and bold, we can turn the climate crisis into an economic opportunity that creates jobs, generates growth, enhances our competitive edge and ensures greater prosperity in the 21st century,” Hillary Clinton added.