UNFCCC Executive Secretary Recaps Meetings with US Officials

Yvo de Boer

6 March 2009: Speaking at the noon press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, US, Yvo de Boer reported on his recent meetings with high-level US officials in Washington, DC, US. The Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC said he had been “very encouraged” by his meetings with representatives of both Houses of Congress on the prospects for the passage of climate change legislation, as well as with senior Cabinet members. He pointed to Congress' support to set up a US cap-and-trade scheme and to provide financial support to developing countries to make the transition to a low-carbon pathway.

He also underlined that he had sensed a “huge willingness” on the part of the Obama Administration to work towards a climate agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009 and pursue the work done in the major economies process in discussing ways to mitigate climate change through broad cooperation. De Boer also cautioned that the Administration had only been in place for a few weeks and needed time to develop its answer to the climate challenge. He indicated that the US wanted to reach an agreement in December and work with major developing countries, while recognizing the importance of finance and technology to engage the developing world.

De Boer concluded by providing an update on the run-up to Copenhagen. He said the UNFCCC Secretariat is preparing a document that could serve as a basis for discussion at the next negotiating session, to be held in Bonn, Germany, from 29 March-8 April 2009. He said this document focuses on areas where there appears to be significant convergence of opinion among governments, areas where there is a significant divergence of positions, and gaps where there is not yet enough information or suggestions from governments to flesh out an agreement in Copenhagen. [UN Press Release]