NWF Says U.S. Has Strong Position at Climate Talks

NWF Hopeful for Copenhagen

12-03-2009 // Tony Iallonardo
Polar bear

Last week President Obama unveiled 2020 greenhouse gas reductions target for the United States and declared he would attend the historic international climate negotiations in Copenhagen next week.

In a press availability today, U.S. NGO experts discussed the significance of these and other key developments heading into the COP 15 Copenhagen summit, December 7-18.

Jeremy Symons, Senior Vice President for Conservation and Education, of National Wildlife Federation participated in the event and released the following statement afterward:

“This is the first time in history that a president will sit down at the climate negotiating table holding some cards to play.


“The House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act is one of the few major initiatives in Congress this year that passed with bipartisan support and certainly strengthens his hand. Never before has a bill cleared a chamber of Congress with enforceable goals to cut pollution from major sources throughout the nation, such as power plants and oil refineries. 

“We are seeing similar signs of progress in the Senate as well, where Majority Leader Reid has set a course for action on comprehensive climate and energy legislation next year.  A bipartisan leadership coalition of Senators Graham and Kerry, joined by Independent Senator Joe Lieberman, are crafting a broader energy and climate plan.

“In addition to congressional action, President Obama demonstrated his resolve in setting the tailpipe standards to reduce pollution from cars and trucks. This was the first-ever regulation of carbon dioxide pollution and EPA is moving ahead with other regulations of large sources such as power plants.

“The overall frame for these negotiations has also shifted in the President’s favor. This is the first time that a president will negotiate in an atmosphere of economic opportunity rather than economic fear.  More and more, workers throughout the nation and members in Congress are looking to clean energy as the next global economic frontier, and they want America to lead the way with those jobs here at home.

“There are some weak cards in the hand however. Most prominent is that the House bill forestalls most of the medium term emissions cuts from 2020 to 2025. This presents a problem of timing – the U.S. plan comes five years too late and behind the schedule that is needed scientifically, and to inspire prompt and aggressive action by other nations around the globe.”


Press Release: Obama Goes to Copenhagen with “Cards to Play” (pdf)