GLOBE Foundation

What to expect from the U.S. at Cancun climate talks

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Source: GLOBE Foundation

A document accidentally left on a European hotel computer and passed to the Guardian reveals the US government's increasingly controversial strategy in the global UN climate talks.

Titled Strategic Communications Objectives and dated 11 March 2010, it outlines the key messages that the Obama administration wants to convey to its critics and to the world media in the run-up to the vital UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico in November.

Top of the list of objectives is to: 'Reinforce the perception that the US is constructively engaged in UN negotiations in an effort to produce a global regime to combat climate change.' It also talks of 'managing expectations' of the outcome of the Cancun meeting and bypassing traditional media outlets by using podcasts and 'intimate meetings' with the chief US negotiator to disarm the US's harsher critics.

But the key phrase is in paragraph 3 where the author writes: 'Create a clear understanding of the CA's [Copenhagen accord's] standing and the importance of operationalising ALL elements.'

This is the clearest signal that the US will refuse to negotiate on separate elements of the controversial accord, but intends to push it through the UN process as a single 'take it or leave it' text. The accord is the last-minute agreement reached at the chaotic Copenhagen summit in December.

Over 110 countries are now 'associated' with the accord but it has not been adopted by the 192-nation UN climate convention. The US has denied aid to some countries that do not support the accord.

The 'take it or leave it' approach divided countries in Bonn this weekend and alienated most developing countries including China, India and Brazil who want to take parts of the accord to include in the formal UN negotiations. They say the accord has no legal standing and should not be used as the basis of the final legally binding agreement because it is not ambitious enough, lacking any specific cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

More including text of the document: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/12/us-document-strategy-climate-talks

Source: www.optimumpopulation.org

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