U.S. Climate Envoy Slams Inhofe's Attempts To Influence Copenhagen

Read time: 2 mins

At the U.S. delegation press conference this afternoon on the final day of the Barcelona climate talks, I asked U.S. deputy climate change envoy Jonathan Pershing what effect, if any, Senator James Inhofe (R-Denial) might have on the process in Copenhagen, and whether GOP intransigence is hurting Obama’s ability to come up with a firm number on U.S. emissions reductions.

Pershing responded that the U.S. delegation traveling to Denmark will include “a wide variety of members of Congress as well as their staff,” from both parties, as is the tradition in international negotiations.  

“They are engaged with us in discussions about what they think will be effective, but U.S. policymaking on the international arena and negotiations is in the purview of the executive branch, and will remain that way,” Pershing told me.

It is promising to hear Pershing confirm that the Obama administration isn’t going to let GOP shenanigans control the U.S. position on international climate policy. But there is no doubt in the minds of the delegates wrapping up the Barcelona talks today that the continued momentum of the Kerry-Boxer Senate bill over the coming weeks could mean the difference between failure and success in Copenhagen.

Watch the U.S. delegation press conference here. My exchange with Pershing is at the very end.

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you flew there too? couldn’t you have texted kevin the question to ask for you? climate criminals, all of you.

It’s a political mindset difference. Should the government regulate or should the individual simply make more responsible choices?

As we individually choose to focus on one choice, the other fades out of importance.

You are trivializing the issue. Governments, businesses and individuals have to do their part.

Governments have bigger roles than “regulation”. Not subsidizing fossil fuels for instance. Rebuilding the electric grid – how to do this is being worked out now. Providing support for weatherizing like is in the stimulus bill. Promoting basic research.

trivializing? yeah, guilty.

I trivialize the issue in blog comments. However, the whole society trivializes the issue by giving it lip service only and it does so everywhere and all the time. Human society isn’t acting like we’re facing a dire climate emergency. Blog posts don’t really count. Blog posts are interesting but they’re not actions - just words.

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Please explain for me.
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thought this was a valid point, why the minus 2? i mean come on, how many people do you need to cover the event? i think from now on the UN will pick one network to cover a major story. only they can report. think of all the carbon savings you would create. why am i getting grief (-2) for suggesting a smaller carbon footprint ?


10 - the plane was going anyway and that extra 200 pounds gave it extra momentum and actually produced a negative carbon value.

9 - the buddy system is important in the age of terrorism

8 - Internet postings are based on some kind of mysterious binary code - so you really need two guys to do it.

7 - Fern checks the spelling and it’s not a bad idea to have someone looking over your shoulder just in case.

6 - the plane was one of those new wind powered types.

5 - Desmogblog is really just a code name for Air Marshall Service guys - no one suspects a thing!

4 - The super secret environmentalist plan is to book all the airline seats so no one else can fly anywhere.

3 - Everybody at desmogblog has a secret man crush on Sen Inhofe (It’s kind of obvious if you look for it)

2 - Barcelona weather is way better than Vancouver

1 - they accidentally got into Dad’s helium weather balloon?

what can you expect when your fearless leader is the biggest hypocrite of all. and good luck with passing anything related to cap and tax. we (usa) took a major step today toward wearing the shroud of socialism. by the time the senate gets done it will be 2010 elections. no more three house rules. bye bye cap and tax or whatever bs proposal may be out there by then. you guys better be buying boats. (oh wait, the sea level rise thing hasn’t been working out for you guys, i forgot, sorry)

Inhofe will have no role whatsoever in the Copenhagen treaty negotiations, in a formal sense but in the background of US politics he will play a key role.

Instead of going along with the republicans in the senate and waiting for a comprehensive economic analysis of the Kerry-Boxer Cap & Trade bill the democrats decided to push it through. The senate is one step closer to a vote and approval or rejection.

I find this a rather bizarre move and have two schools of thought on this:
1. They want this bill approved before copenhagen and are hoping on rhetoric from the international meeting to help them push it through with the 60 votes needed. Or;
2. Harry Reid and the democrats want to kill this bill in the senate. Without any proper economic analysis done they can say they still believe in global warming but tried to get it passed before Copenhagen and failed the rigid timeline.

I am leaning towards option 2 right now as the senate has 60 democrats and 40 republicans. So for the bill to pass they need almost all 60 democrats or a few bipartisan converts. Without the economic analysis you can bet that all or virtually all 40 republicans will vote against this legislation and many of the conservative or bluedog democrats in the senate will vote against the legislation as well. Senators like Mark Pryor, both Arkasas senators,Mary Landrieu (La.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jim Webb (Va.), and Sen.Mark Warner (Va.) to name a few.
Additionally Progressive republicans like John Mccain now have ample reason to vote agsinst this bill.

After the recent democratic beating in virginia and New jersey, it is clear to all politicians on the hill that Obama can’t help you win your seat. With all the effort Obama put into virginia this much is clear. So all the senators facing election in 1 years time will have this overiding their conscience in any vote.

When you take the current global warming polling showing shrinking support admist 26 year high in unemployment, what politician is going to be supporting a bill in which they can be tarred with the brush of “Killing Jobs”, which you know they will?

You can expect Inhofe to be lobbying hard against this bill in the senate and I think the democrats have already laid the wreaths for the death of this bill.

As a result Obama can avoid signing Copenhagen and have the political cover form the senate to do so.

Yes Imhofe will play a critical role in killing copenhagen afterall he is the one that wanted the economic analysis.

Still blaming Inhofe and the Republicans? The Democrats control EVERYTHING … the Senate, the Congress, the Presidency. You should be asking instead why Democrats aren’t pushing at all for an agreement at Copenhagen.

if the dems pretend to be handcuffed now, wait till next year after the elections.

Deep down they don’t want to accomplish much, they just want a good speech, a halo and a ready scapegoat.

The Democratic tic of blaming everything on Repubs is getting tiresome awfully fast. The Dems have no intention of agreeing to any kind of binding commitment at Copenhagen so they have to start the “blame the Republicans” meme already.

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Inhofe over Obarmy any day.

Its a tough situation that we are in, and the Dems have to be careful to choose their battles carefully. Healthcare reform + huge environmental issues at the same time can be a tough mix to balance, but hopefully with the bill passing today they will have more time to focus on other issues.

Getting anything accomplished with such sensationalized resistance is amazing.

Kevin Spence

That’s a good observation. Politically, I think the Democrats can only successfully champion one cause at the present. Healthcare is a more immediate concern for the Democrats so they have downplayed climate change to work on health care reform. And concentrating on health care is the correct choice in my opinion.

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