COP15 coming to a close…

As the negotiations are coming to a close, a select number of world leaders are struggling to come to an agreement.

Here is a smattering of recent press:

World leaders come together to continue meeting

The world’s leaders have come together once again to move the climate negotiations forward, after having gathered in smaller groups during the afternoon.  At the same time the UN conference continues in the form of large meetings.  Barack Obama, Wen Jiabao, Ban Ki-moon and Fredrik Reinfeldt were among the speakers in plenary during the afternoon. Continue reading


Senator John Kerry: “Amateur hour is over. It’s time for science fact to trump science fiction.”

Wednesday, December 16, our last day in the Bella Center due to NGO restrictions, was an intense day.  In the first meeting, we witnessed the resignation of COP15 President Connie Hedegaard and several Heads of State statements, as well as the concern from developing countries regarding the imposition of the Danish text.

Senator Kerry at the Bella Center

I left the plenary to hear U.S. Senator John Kerry discuss the critical role of a global deal in advancing domestic legislation.  Kerry is the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and lead author of the Senate’s climate bill.

As I was attempting to enter the meeting, I ran into Brice Lalonde, Kerry’s first cousin and French ambassador in charge of international climate change negotiations since 2007.  I had the luck of finding a seat in the front row!

Continue reading


CMP Plenary: Report from the AWG for KP Track on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties

Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark

Breaking News:

Meeting opens over 30 minutes late due to heightened security.  Brazil and India delegates upset about security, and both had difficulty getting into the plenary.  After several delegate statements, including a renewed call for action from Tuvalu, COP15 President Connie Hedegaard resigns.  Danish Prime Minister (PM) Lars Løkke Rasmussen is now also the COP15 President, and Hedegaard will be his special assistant regarding informal consultations.

Now waiting for high-level segment including statements from Heads of State…More to come!

For a flavor of the current discussion:

Rasmussen: “The whole world is seeking a solution to climate change, and not just procedure, procedure, procedure.”

China: “Not just procedure, but substance…not here to obstruct the process.”

As you can see, it is getting tense here.


Lisa Jackson: Not at an “either/or,” but a “both/and” moment regarding U.S. climate legislation

Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, speaking to a packed US Center (and overflow room on video) at COP15

Today, U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed a packed house at the U.S. Center.  Among the several recently announced climate related initiatives such as vehicle and building efficiency, it is clear that the final endangerment finding is the primary accomplishment of Obama’s EPA.

I witnessed the passion and commitment of Administrator Jackson’s efforts to return EPA to a reliance on science.  Notably, her enthusiasm puts a human face on a tremendously complex scientific issue that has severe impacts on ecosystems, humans and future generations.  Her energy for change and appreciation of the EPA’s progress is evident and inspiring.

Ashley Santner, former OECA and OIA law clerk

Another highlight of recent events includes the mandatory reporting of GHG emissions which provides the EPA, as well as the public, the ability to accurately assess the industrial sources of GHG emissions. Continue reading



A global perspective…

As part of an exchange program at Vermont Law, I am spending my 3L year studying law in French at l’Université de Cergy-Pontoise.  Although adapting to the French method of learning has been challenging, I have also found it to be an excellent learning experience.  Specifically, I believe that the time I have spent here over the last couple of months has given me some practice in explaining the U.S. position on issues such as climate change to those who view us from afar. Continue reading