Negotiating for the Planet: Environmental & Climate Diplomacy


>>I’m Daniel Benjamin. I’m the Director of the John Sloan Dickey
Center for International Understanding. And I’m delighted to welcome today to this event
with Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, who is an old friend and one of the people I think who has probably
achieved a greater synthesis between science and policy in just about any one in the country. Certainly one of the very top
practitioners in that rarefied zone. Kerri-Ann Jones served as Assistant Secretary of
State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs from
August 2009 through April 2014. And having been there for a large part
of that time, I can tell you she was one of the absolutely essential part of
Secretary Hillary Clinton’s team. And in this, you know, it’s one of–
actually, let me back and just say it is one of the undying facts of life in Washington
that anyone at the assistant secretary, even the deputy assistant
secretary, level and above, that a core part of one’s identity
is being able to say to everyone else that your portfolio has more
issues, more impossible issues, more issues of presidential interest,
secretarial interest than anyone else’s. I know because I pulled this trick many times. But let me just tell you that in her position,
Kerri-Ann led a bureau that are just bilateral, regional, and multilateral engagement on
oceans environment science space and health, giving new meaning to the phrase ”She
had the whole world in her hands”. Among the issues that she handled was
sustainable fisheries, the Arctic, the Antarctic, climate change biodiversity,
wildlife trafficking, environmental assessments, water toxic chemicals, health
pandemic preparedness, international research partnerships,
innovation, and space. [ Laughter ] That was before lunch. [ Laughter ] No, she had an unbelievable portfolio. And what is most amazing
about this is that it’s– and I could go on, there’s so
many other issues she handled. But, you know, the average duration
of political appointees turn in Washington is usually about 18 months. And Kerri-Ann did for about five years, which
has to be some kind of record at least among, you know, people with– what do we have? Twenty-three pairs of chromosomes
and things like that. [ Inaudible Remark ] You’re the longest serving? That’s great. [ Inaudible Remark ] [ Laughter ] I was the longest serving in my job
but I didn’t make to five years. So, anyway, just to run through
some of the other things. You know, influenza virus international
partnerships, to deal with that, global innovation through
science and technology. It goes on and on. And before she did this, she held a
similar portfolio but with far fewer staff at the White House, which is where we came to meet each other during
the Clinton administration. As associate director at the office
of Science and Technology Policy for the second Clinton term, she was responsible
for policy development, budget analysis, international coordination of
security and international science and technology issues, nuclear nonproliferation. You had counter terrorism, too? [ Inaudible Remark ] Oh, OK. Emerge– I thought
it was because I worked on some speech that you had something to do. Anyway, and she was a senior director at
the NSC, the National Security Council, for science and technology affairs. She– you know, this is one of those
resumes you could spend the hour and a half reciting, ‘I won’t do that. I will say that she’s a woman of great wisdom and excellent taste during years
that her party was out of power. She moved to Maine. And so, you know, her affinity with
air climate here is noteworthy. She worked as the director for Experimental
Program to Stimulate Competitive Research in Maine and lives– has a house
in that beautiful town of Castine. She has a PhD from Yale in Molecular
Biophysics and Biochemistry, and an undergraduate degree from Barnard. I found it particularly interesting,
Kerri-Ann, that you are a– your doctoral work was on the effect of stress.>>Right.>>And if you could tell us
something about how to manage that while you’re here, too,
that would be wonderful. Anyway, I’m delighted that Kerri-Ann is here
because of the question of how the world of science and the world of policy
meet and interact and how we can make that interaction more effective is, I think,
one of the really pressing ones for those of us who are in the university today. You only have to pick up a newspaper on any
given day that seems that complex negotiations on climate are going on and on, and
everyone and his uncle is somehow involved. There are I think really interesting questions
of what we can do to make that whole area of human endeavor more effective but also how
we make more effective the voices of scientists in the policy process, and that’s something
we’re particularly interested in here at Dartmouth and at the Dickey
Center in particular. She’s brought her stamina and a remarkable
capacity for dealing with stress to this week at Dartmouth which I hope
is not really stressful. She’s teaching five classes this week, meeting
with innumerable members of the faculty, graduates, students, and undergrads, student
groups and the like, and I’m really grateful that she is treating us another
week at the state department. So, Kerri-Ann, thank you so much for coming
and we look forward to hearing on what you have to say about the Negotiating for the Planets.>>Certainly. [ Applause ] Thank you. [ Applause ] Thank you Dan. Can everybody hear me? I hope I’ve turned this on correctly. Well, thank you. And I’m so glad to be here to
have a chance to talk to you. And I’ve been here couple of
days now and already I’ve had so many interesting conversations,
and I’m sure there’ll be a lot more. So I thank Dan for inviting me and
the Dickey Center for hosting me. I also find out when I hear that list
of subjects that was in the portfolio, that I was involved in for
so long, I get very tired. But you have to realize that
this was– I had a staff– there was a staff in this
bureau of about 200 people. It was the foreign policy perspective
looking at on all of these issues. And so, it was quite a good team that we had. The title of this talk is out there
so we that can really sort of look at all the different things that are happening. And I think it’s quite obvious to say,
we all know that there are quite an array of environmental challenges we’re facing. And what I found in the portfolio that
I was leading at the state department, and that I want to talk to you about
today, is that they’re all connected. They’re all connected because of
the nature of environment itself. And they’re all increasingly
on the foreign policy agenda. And that’s because they’re not
only environmental issues which by that nature would be on the agenda, but
also because they’re economic issues, they’re trade issues, they’re health issues,
and they are security issues more and more. So I spent the last five years living
in this space with these issues, with these very many different dimensions,
but also which I’m going to talk about today, with the international engagements
that go with those. So, what I want to do is take you through
negotiating on a lot of different topics, because if I were just to talk about one topic and get into the gruesome
details, I would probably bore you. It’s not that they’re not important
but I would probably bore you. So what I want to do is give you this overview
and show you a little bit how they’re connected and look at what we were doing, and
sort of how are we doing, how are we– are we making any progress,
is it getting any better. The challenges we face environmentally,
as I mentioned, are huge and the way I often look
at them is so where are they? Well, we have them in the air. We have them in the oceans that
connect us, that provide food. They’re on the land. They’re in the animals and plant life. And of course, there is climate change. And that is the environmental issue of our age. It is in the news and it is one that we need
to address, and we need to do more about. But beyond the actual problems that I just
mentioned, you know, with air, and water, and land, there’s also just
the beauty of the planet. And that is under stress. And we need that. We need the open spaces and
we need to be able to deal with that beauty and the
awe that inspires in us. But it’s under stress because
of increasing population and expanding development,
and that’s just the facts. I mean, there’s nothing controversial
about that. Now, one thing I want to tell you upfront
is that I am not a gloom and doom person. I could not be and do this job. It’s just the nature of who I am
in trying to handle this portfolio. I’m also trained as a scientist, as Dan said. And I came to this portfolio by a way
of a number of positions that looked at how does science addressed
tough international problems. And certainly, you know, environment, are tough international problems
that need a lot of science. So, the details and the challenges
of these environmental issues that we face are complicated, and the
world is trying to step up to them. And I would say that we are making progress
but– and this not a trivial but it is very, very slow and it is very, very complicated. And I think it’s important to think
about why it’s so complicated, because many groups would say,
“Well, why don’t we just do X?” or “Why don’t we just do Y and fix this?” Well, it’s complicated because the way
that we look at the systems that we look at to address these problems are
dynamic in and off themselves. And the way I think about it is we look at
these problems through the lens of science. We look at it through the lens of development. We look at it through the lens of
politics, both national and international. And so, each one of those is a dynamic process, and so it’s not easy to sort
of come to solutions. Clearly, our policies must be science-based. And I’ve been lucky over the course of my career
to work in places where science is valued, it was difficult but we kept pushing on it. But the nature of science is that
it always is adding new information. And so as we are trying to solve these problems,
we are also getting real time information, and so it’s very much a back-and-forth process. We’re also working with a community of nations
that covers the entire development spectrum. And this comes into play in every
negotiation, every relationship we have. We’re dealing with countries who were
struggling, very poor, low education indices, low development indices– Can you still hear me? I think I lost it. Low development– And I think
that this is something that we’ve take into consideration all the time. We’re also looking at how
countries want to develop. They want to keep developing because it’s
important to them to keep their country on a very strong economic
and social development track. And also countries are politically
changing all the time. We know that they’re varying their each nation
has to different extents, national debates going on about these environmental issues. Surely we have them in the US and we can
certainly talk about those a little bit as we get further into this talk, but what
do we do and how do we do it and who pays, and are we really being effective? We’re trying to build international consensus,
as countries are changing governments at regular intervals and the urgency of
environmental problems whether we like it or not, often seem to pay out when viewed as– when viewed against short-term economic
concerns, possible health crisis, and in many countries outright conflict. And so, it’s a difficult
setting for these problems. What I want to say first about the
overall negotiating process is it’s not a singular process. It’s not one negotiation for one
topic, whatever that topic may be. But it’s also a range of programs and process. And these are all different kinds. There’re bilateral announcements that
come out and you hear them when visits– when leaders get together, their
regional initiatives and of course, they’re the ones that we often hear about
the large multilateral negotiations. We also see countries developing national
strategies and developing new programs. And each of these is important, because there’s
no single way that we’re going to solve these. And we also need continuity. We need continuity from the national
level to the international and back. And we need the information to be flowing
back and forth from these problems, from these different efforts and informing
how we go forward on these problems. Now, the US is very much engaged in, you know,
what I call this tapestry or web of agreements and programs and initiatives and engagements. And I’ve lived in this space and
it’s an interesting space to live in. But what I want to mention
is, so how are we viewed? How is the US viewed in the global
environmental science and policy community? Well, for my perspective, we are
still very much viewed as a leader. And we are viewed as an essential partner. Our environmental protection agency, the EPA,
is enormously respected around the world, which I find ironic because in our own
country, we don’t necessarily value its worth but it’s really very popular around
the world and I think they would love to be able to model something like it. We also have in place a system of domestic laws
that have been on the books for years and years that have shown our commitment
to the environment. We have the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. We have the Lacey Act, which
deals with wildlife conservation. We have the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which deals
with fisheries and fish– marine conservation. So we have a very strong domestic system. And it’s been around for a long time. So, countries really respect
us from that perspective. They also greatly admire our
science and technology enterprise. They want to work with us. We were– When I was in my position, we
were constantly visited by scientists from around the world, administers of science
who wanted to do more cooperation with the US. And I know, here at Dartmouth that many of your faculty are involved
in international collaboration. And so we are a welcome partner when
it comes to science and technology. Now, moving to our policy processes
in our current national debates, my experience is that many
countries study us very closely, and they tried to understand exactly
how we do things to figure it out. They’re impressed with our interagency
processes that we try to bring to the table all the different expertise that
we have, from our Department of Agriculture, to EPA, to the National Institutes
of Health, to work on problems. They’re also impressed with our
efforts to bring in the NGO community, industry and to have this great debate. And they often asked us for advice on that. But they are, I would say, to put at my out
my old league, kind of bewildered and dismayed by our budget processes and
our policy processes. They often question the disconnects
between our rhetoric and our hard work to negotiate agreements and
often, our inability to join them. And I believe our contentious or
intense and contentious national debates and prolonged budget processes do have
a corrosive effect on our ability– our credibility in the international arena. And that’s not to detract from the
importance of our national debates. I think the fact that we have these
intense debates, that’s sort of who we are, and it’s important that everyone participates. But we seem to have gotten
stuck with always debating and it’s very hard for us to move forward. I spent a lot of time in my
meetings with international partners, trying to explain how our system worked, and trying to explain that
this is part of who we are. But the stuck part is a reality that we do
seem to be going in circles in many cases. Another point I want to make is about
these– the large multilateral negotiations and how they’re done and who actually does it. Because I think– I don’t know
that that’s well understood. I know many people here may understand or
may have participated in different types of negotiations, but it really
is a whole interagency process. The state department may lead a
team but it involves representatives from across the US government who
bring their technical expertise. So, when we were working on a mercury
convention, which we’ll talk more about, we have people for EPA and the
Food and Drug Administration. We had a number of representatives
from across the US government. And that’s a negotiation in
and of itself because each one of those agencies brings their interest
and their constituents to the table to sort of develop the US position. But in terms of who these people
are, they are civil servants, they are Foreign Service officers, they
are political appointees, they are fellows, they are contractors, they are students. It is really the collection of
whoever really can get the job done. And in terms of training, the teams that
we were– that I was very involved in, we had scientists, we had lawyers, we had
a lot of international affairs experts. And it was a whole mixture of expertise to sort
of move forward on these complicated areas. And these negotiations as you can
tell from climate, take many years. Now, climate has taken an
inordinate number of years, but typically, they do take multiple years. It doesn’t often happen quickly. And what happens is that you bring
to the table technical expertise, legal expertise because you are
working in the area of perhaps, binding legal requirements of a country. And it has to be coherent with
the rest of international– of your laws and then look at international law. And it also– you have to bring
your policy objectives to the table. In the Obama administration, the term of art
that was very popular was whole-of-government. And that’s sort of a given. The whole-of-government goes forward
to try to achieve it, but it was also, we use the term whole-of-society because we
had the NGO community very, very much in touch with everything we did, and we
would always consult with industry. Because if you’re going to start regulating
something, you’re going to start affecting that industry’s ability to use certain
chemicals we’re not to use them. So let me sort of start, having done
that sort of general description, talking about a few of these specific issues. So let me start with air. It’s clear that what we have done
over the course of years in developing and taking the human race further,
is to pollute the air with a lot of different interesting chemicals. And we learn about these through
science, because I always think that we have to talk about the science. And the most– the first really
major step we took on this when we look at ozone-depleting substances. We– A few scientists looked at this in the ’70s
and said, “We think chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs, are depleting ozone and we need ozone
to protect us from UV radiation.” The scientists did the work in the ’70s
and they got the Nobel Prize in 1995. And that was Mario Molino and Sherry Rowland. So science can come right in, takes a long
time for the scientist to be recognized. The treaty regarding the control of CFCs
took a while to come around as well. That was finally completed in 1987. So, the science was out there in the ’70s,
the treaty was– it was completed in ’87. And we, the United States joined at 1988. And the US Senate provided advice
and consent with a vote of 83 to 0. Now, we haven’t seen a lot of votes
like that lately, but we have a history. We do have a history here of doing this. And the Montreal Protocol is now universal. In 2009, it was announced
that 196 countries joined it. Have to be revised in 2002, because
there was a new country, South Sudan. So now, 197 countries have signed on to this. And there’s a point about this treaty, and
the reason I start with it and it sounds old and it’s been out there for years. But it’s something that we worked
on every week and every year, because treaties have to be living documents. They have to be able to be amended and adjusted
based on science and based on the monitoring and based on what countries may
need help to get things done, and so we were constantly revisiting this. We also– There’s also a particular revisiting
I want to mention, which is very current. And that has to do with one of the chemicals
that was put out there to be a substitute for CFCs, and that was hydrofluorocarbons,
HFCs, great substitute. They’re used in refrigerants. They are not ozone-depleting. Great news. Bad news, they have a very, very
high global warming potential. So we were taking one chemical to fix a problem but we are causing– playing
into another problem. And they are very potent. They are 1,000 to 3,000 times more powerful
than CO2 in terms of global warming potential. So now, the US and a couple of other
countries have been proposing every year for the past four years that HFCs be
scaled down under the Montreal Protocol. This is going very slowly. But we had some breakthroughs recently. In 2013, we were able to announce that the US
would work with China to take on this problem. And then most recently, we were able to report
that India was going to work with the US. So that’s two bilateral arrangements
that have been worked at, that may be able to make a big difference in
this much bigger multilateral negotiation. And so, we’ll try to get– bring
this up every year after year. And I think there is momentum gaining,
but it’s not happening fast enough. I think it will get there but it’s
really not happening fast enough. I also, turning away from that old treaty,
I want to talk about a new convention, and one that I know many people here have
in someway been involved with the work. And that is the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Now, many of you in the audience who have
done research on mercury or in public health, know that mercury is a neurotoxin,
it bioaccumulates. Children are very sensitive to it and it
can very much affect their development, their attention spans and
result in learning disability. It also has more severe effects
in higher concentration. There are also other populations who are very
seriously at risk of exposure to mercury. And those are people whose diets include a lot– rely heavily on fish and
shellfish and marine mammals. And particularly, indigenous
groups are sensitive to this. And this is an issue in the Arctic. And I know the Institute of Arctic Studies
has looked at the concentration of this toxin in the Arctic and looked at how it’s traced
and how it is affecting indigenous populations. Now, I’m making an aside here more
just a historic interest point, and I don’t know if a lot of
you know it, probably you do. But treaties are named in odd ways. We always talk about the climate change treaty
because we don’t know what city it’s going to end up being finally completed in. Typically, the final treaty
takes the name of the city. And so, the convention for mercury
was called the Minamata Convention, because Minamata is a city in Japan where
there was horrific mercury pollution, environmental disaster. It’s such a disaster that there is now a sort
of disease known as the Minamata syndrome because so many lives were lost
and so much damage was done to the population of this small town. A chemical company was dumping this stuff
into the water, it accumulated in the fish that the people ate, and it was truly a
syndrome that was studied and identified as related directly to this poisoning. And because of that, Japan was highly
sensitive to wanting to make this happen and to doing everything they could, and they
played a leadership role and they wanted to host it and the world community
felt this is the right thing. This is to show what happens if you don’t
take care of these kinds of problems. Now, the US has been aware of
mercury problems for a long time. I mean, we have regulations, domestic
and state regulations on the books. We have advisories in different states in
terms of fish, but we were not the only one who was involved in this problem
and we couldn’t solve it alone. And the reason we couldn’t solve it alone is because science gave us a lot
of information about mercury. Number one, it was the public health piece. But number two, we learned
about mercury transport. And I know there were some work here
done on mercury transport as well. The issue with mercury transport is it stays
in the air and it travels in long distances. It concentrates in the Arctic as I mentioned. But also, we found that in the US, EPA
has estimated that 70% of the mercury in the US comes from outside our borders. And so, a global arrangement was needed. So this convention was completed in 2013. It took four years to get it done. And it identifies the sources
that need to be controlled. It puts out some targets to be hit. It talks about available
technology that can be used. It tries to help some of the less
well-known sources of mercury contaminate– or mercury pollution for instance
small-scale and Artisanal gold mining. A lot of poor countries, people
actually use mercury to extract gold, and communities have a big mercury problem. But it has moved forward. And now, 128 countries in the EU
have signed on to the agreement. We signed on to that agreement. The US signed on to it. And I must say, I personally signed on to it. And I also personally joined it, for the US. And that has to be one of the greatest
honors of my tenure at the state department, to sort of join that for our country. And I was able to do that because advice
and consent, senate advice and consent, was not needed for that agreement
because of the nature of it. It was deemed an executive
agreement and therefore, it is within the presidential
authority to move that forward. One thing and as I’ve mentioned to several
students, is that in the course of my job, I have learned a lot about the law and I
didn’t expect to when I first started this job. So, it’s really an amazing thing to watch
this go from beginning to end and for us to be able to join it, but it’s not done. Now, there are post convention meetings. There are guidelines that
have to be established. Countries have to get into the details of how
they are actually going to meet these targets. So, that’s look at air, but that’s
only one segment of the environment. The other– one or the other pieces that
Dan mentioned in my resume and of work, is we also dealt with biodiversity,
all the flora and fauna of the planet. And the tremendous threat it’s under in terms
of the different developmental expansions and also the pollution that’s out there. There are many treaties that address these. There is the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species, the CITES treaty. There is the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. And just to mention another one, there
is the Convention on Biodiversity. Now, the first two, CITES and Ramsar,
the US signed and we joined these. So we participate. We go to meetings. We try to live up to the goals that have been
set and all the processes that have been set. And it’s an important work that we do that way. But we are not members of the
Convention on Biodiversity. That convention has always been
somewhat difficult one for the US. In 1993, President Clinton
signed it but it was– it didn’t really gained momentum in
terms of the Senate moving on it. It was also the time when the new
biotech industry was coming out. And there were a lot of questions about
genetic resources and what does this mean. And so, there’s a sort of
pulling away from that. Now, I don’t think there is quite as
much opposition to that treaty however, we are in a space where it’s
very difficult to move treaties through our Senate and get advice and consent And so we go to the meetings of
the convention on biodiversity. And countries want us there because we bring a
lot of technical expertise, but we have to work through somebody who’s actually
sitting at the table because we have to sit in the back of the room. That’s a very difficult place to really try
to have a lot of affect if you really want to make an impact on how a treaty evolves and how things get measured
and what are the standards. It’s not the only treaty we’re not a member of,
there’s another one I’ll just mention briefly which is the UN Convention on the Law of the
Sea, which is not only a conservation treaty but it’s also a treaty that involves or
extended continental shelf, mineral rights, and a whole number of things that
are very important to our country. But beyond these agreements, there are
a lot of other things we do in terms of conservation and biodiversity. We work on forests, we work in
regions such as the Congo Basin or the coral initiative in East Asia. So, there’s always an effort
to push forward and do more. And there’s just two things I
want to mention in biodiversity that I think you may be interested in. One is good news and one is not so
good news, actually it’s bad news. The good news is that there is
a new effort to bring science into biodiversity and ecosystem valuing. There’s an effort called the Intergovernmental
Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. It’s called IPBES. It has to be the worst acronym ever
but that’s the way the system works, and that’s what’s going to be called. We worked very hard to help
shape that organization. And what we did was the interagency
process developed guidelines, those guidelines included
some very basic things. Number one, this was not going to be a brand new
research organization because we don’t need one. There’s a lot of good research
going on across the academic world, and that should be brought to bear. Secondly, everything used to sort of inform this
group should be based on peer review, research. And then the other two have to do with
using the best technology available because these are large databases and we
really have to stay up with the technology. And finally, that, it needs to be a very focused
organization, because one of the big challenges in all of these things is
to keep bureaucracy small. And it is not easy. They proliferate. They make more committees. They– Everybody has to have a committee. So trying to keep focused in keeping your eye
on the target, well, it sounds pretty trivial. It’s a major undertaking when new
organizations are being formed. The other development, as I said,
that is not positive is the fact that we are facing a crisis
in wildlife trafficking. I’m sure you’ve seen that in the news. There’s been a significant increase in
poaching and trading of wildlife products such as ivory or rhino horn or tiger skin. And it’s very lucrative. It’s one of the most lucrative types
of transnational organized crime now, where it has revenues totaling
over $10 billion a year. Over the past three years, it’s estimated
that 100,000 elephants have been killed. In some regions in Africa,
there’s been a decline of 60% of the elephant population in decades. And it’s a multidimensional
problem, because it is environmental. Certainly we do not want to see this iconic
species disappear, but it’s also economic for the communities that depend on this
wildlife, as an attraction for tourism. It is also a health problem and it is a
security problem, because we know some of this money is going to terrorist groups. So there’s a lot going on in
the world community on this. There’s a mobilization under CITES, that
treaty I mentioned that I’m sure many of you are familiar with, individual
countries like the US are trying to do new strategies and new programs. The UN has put it high on the agenda. And the NGO community is really, really out
there trying to make a difference in this, and engaging very much African leaders, because
this is a very tough issue in Africa with a lot of the challenges that some
of these countries face. This is down on the lists of
priorities, but it’s one of those that needs a lot of attention right now. Now, moving to oceans, again, it’s
not news that we’re putting the oceans under a tremendous amount of
stress with wants going on. To start with, overfishing is a
huge problem and it’s harmful. And there are harmful fishing practices that
threaten a lot of different species out there. It’s estimated that 29% of the world’s fish
stock are overexploited and that another 61 are under stress, 61% are under
stress and need management. We are also seeing that the ocean is
suffering from pollution and we hear about large collections of plastics
floating out there in the ocean. And we also know the ocean is warming, and
that has effects in so many different ways, obviously it’s interaction with climate, a
climate patterns, and also with how fish migrate and how that affects fishing industries. And we also have a problem that it’s often
referred to as new but I think it’s been there for a while, it’s just getting more
noticed and it’s also becoming more severe. And that is that the ocean
is becoming more acidic. The pH of the ocean is becoming
more acid as the CO2 is dissolving. And what this does is it will affect life
in the ocean, because there’s a feeling that the building of shells and metabolism
could all be affected by this acidification. Now, there’re some good news here, and
that good news is that all of the sudden, at least this is from where I
said in the state department. In the last three years or so, there’s been this
awakening about the oceans that the problems that we have been focusing on
in air traditionally and some of the wildlife on land is like, “Wait. What is happening in the oceans?” And there had been more and more things done. There had been a lot of international efforts, the state department hosted a very
large conference in this past June where many world leaders came to it and
industries, and they made a lot of pledges. And right now, I know that my
colleagues back in the state department because this is also another
challenge in many of these areas. Pledges are great but they
have to be carried out. And so there’s a real followthrough. And every pledge that you hear, somebody has
to pay attention that it really gets done, so they are trying to pay attention to that. The US also announced recently that
it’s going to greatly expand one of its marine protected areas
in the Central Pacific. And so, there are good things happening. The other good thing that has happened and
I don’t know if many of you had noticed it, but last April, very quietly,
the Senate provided advice and consent to four, four fish treaties. And this was– these were the
first environmental treaties that have come through in a very long time. And what these addressed, three of them
were addressed specific regional approaches to conservation and fishing
practices in the Pacific. I think it was the North Pacific and the South
Pacific, and then the Northwest Atlantic. And then the fourth treaty, looked at
measures that port cities need to take, so. It’s called the Port City State Measures. So in other words, if you’re a port and you’re
landing fish, you need to do certain things to make sure that those are not a
illegal or unregulated or pirated, so that you’re really cutting
down on this illegal fishing or piracy as some people call it. So that’s good news. And it’s very interesting that
these treaties went through. It was bipartisan and it was unanimous. And so, we can talk about this dichotomy that
we see between some things getting through and some things it doesn’t look like
they’ll ever get through because they’re so controversial, or perhaps
they’re just so complex that they need to be looked at differently. Now, I want to turn to climate change. One cannot talk about environment without
talking seriously about climate change. And all of those topics that I just
mentioned are tied to climate change. The oceans as I mentioned, the warming
and the acidification, the air, the HFCs, they all are connected. And so, we have negotiations
on these individual issues and then we have the major negotiation
that’s going on in onto the UN for the UN Framework Convention
on Climate Change. Now, there’s a big meeting coming u. I’m sure
you’ve been following this in Paris in 2015, where we all anticipate that there will be an
agreement, that will address both the reduction or the mitigation of greenhouse gasses
as well as look at the adaptation, how do we react to the changes
that are already coming toward us. Each year– And the team that did
this negotiation was in my bureau. Each year, we send a large team to negotiate. And there are multiple committees
and multiple activities and they are political, legal, and technical. And in preparation for that annual meeting
which is called the Conference of the Parties or the COP, there are meetings all year long. So, this is a tremendous amount of
work for any country, and it’s not– and I’m not saying that because
I think we shouldn’t do it. I’m saying it because it is a reality that to
really engage in these, we have to be out there with the right people and very much
present at all the important meetings. So, this COP coming up in Paris is COP 21,
which means that we’ve had 21 of these before, where we have not come to a convention but
I think an agreement on the convention. But I think there is a lot
of optimism this time. There’s a lot of optimism because there’s
more pressure, there’s more visibility. There has been some real progress,
I think, on some of the issues. And let me talk just very briefly about
the issues, because the issues that are on the table now and we’re going to have
to think about how they’re solved in Paris, have been on the table for a very long time. They can be stated very simply as questions and
that’s how I state them, but underneath each of these, they are flushed with
details, with old problems, with North-South debates,
with all kinds of things. So if you state these questions simply, what they are is how much will each
country reduce its greenhouse gasses? Pretty straightforward. Second is, how will these reductions
be measured, reported, and verified? Also pretty straightforward. The third one is how will
countries prepare for the current and future impact of climate change, adaptation. And the last one is what funds
and technology will be available to assist developing countries? Now when you think about it, those are all
pretty– if you’re worried about a problem, first of all, you have to stop what’s bad, you
have to make sure you’ve stopped what’s bad, you have to fix what damage you’ve
done, and you have to pay for it or get something that’s going to make it work. That’s what those are. But underneath that, is a whole range of
development issues as to who pays for what, who is to blame, how is it monitored, how is
the data collected, who does the measuring? It just becomes very much churning and
forth with a lot of difficult issues. But as I said, there’s been progress. In Lima just recently, countries agreed
that they’re going to submit information that will serve as the framework
for the Paris agreement, and the last few years has been a technology
mechanism that’s been set up that’s supposed to be helpful in how to move technology out. There is a new fund that was established
in terms of financing some of these. So there are– there was the beginning of
the architecture of addressing all of these. But, I think, we all have to realize
whatever agreement that comes out of this, there’s going to be a compromise. And so, it depends on where you sit, who
you are, what industry you’re interested in, what country you’re in whether
or not you love it or hate it. But I don’t think there will be– I think
there’ll be a lot of presses to what’s wrong with this agreement when it comes
out, because that’s just the nature of how these agreements are,
there are compromises. But it’s very important to realize. As I said before, when I start
in general about this world that we’re in, it’s not about one agreement. This multilateral agreement is very important, but there are many other things being
done many, many other things being done. And we need all of those. There are different forms being
set up in different projects and different partnerships,
and different investments. A few years ago, the US initiated a
group called the Major Economies Forum, where the 17 largest emitting
countries get together and try to talk about how they’re going to handle this problem. They’re now looking at initiative
to put money in to sort of looking at some of the big questions out there. This is good. There’s also a group called the
Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which is looking at not greenhouse gasses
but the short-lived climate forcers, things like black ash and methane, which may
be much easier to get out of the atmosphere but could have a large impact on
what’s happening with climate warming. So, I think, you know, to summarize the
piece on climate, we’re in a good place. We’re in a better place than we’ve every been. Is it an easy place? No. Are we sure we know what’s
going to be in that agreement? No, but I think we should
be cautiously optimistic, which is the term I’ve been
using some of the classes. But it’s going to be something that we’re
going to have to work on no matter what. It’s going to be a long term effort. And I think we have to recognize that
and move on, because no one solution is out there that’s going to make
it better, make it go away. So let me begin to close here and
summarize with just a few points. First of all, as I started out, which I think
all of you are quite– how can I put it– familiar with or deal with it everyday. We are facing an enormous number of
environmental challenges that’s just there. And climate changes top on the lists,
not only is it related to the others but it makes it worst or they make it
worst, and so there’s a convergence that we have to begin to understand. From my perspective, we are
taking some positive steps. And one positive is that increasingly,
the world is linking science to policy. Now, this is not easy to do for many
reasons but it is slowly happening. From my perspective, it would be
much easier if the scientific process and risks analysis was better understood. It would be easier if technical
discussions were much more easily integrated into policy and politics. Now, this raises questions of science
literacy and science education, which I could also talk about for a long time. But it’s a major issue for our country. And the problems we face are increasingly
complicated, and we need to be able to understand them and we need
our politicians and our leaders to be able to have these conversations. Another positive is that increasingly we’re
seeing all kinds of partnerships emerging. We’re not looking for one solution. And that’s a good thing, because you
cannot put all of your eggs in one basket on this complicated problems that
involve international collaborations, everything changes. So we need a whole collection of things. In climate we’re seeing, as I mentioned, some
of those examples of major economies form. Some people beginning to call
those plurinational activities, because it’s not everybody but it’s some. It’s a group of countries
who can be very influential, and they want to make things happen not
because they are saying that the multilateral, the large multilateral should not happen or is
not going to bring a benefit but they also know that that takes time, 197 countries coming to
agreement does not get to a quick conclusion. So, it’s good to have all of these
efforts because they interact and they put pressure on each other. So I think that’s a very good development, because it makes them both
try to push for progress. And beyond those partnerships,
there are also partnerships with industry and government and universities. There are all kinds of flourishing partnerships. And this is god news– very good news. But I also have a caveat here, and
this is more from personal experience. I think we need a little more selectivity and
focus, because we have to have enough noise in the system to go forward but
we have to have enough noise in the system to also make a signal. So I think we have to sort of look at these and
we have to think about one of the challenges is that in our political system and in our media,
everybody want something new all the time. And so, what is the announcement today? And everyone of those announcements are programs
or projects, whether it’s your community or your university or your agency in Washington,
every one of those requires somebody to work on it, afterwards it requires human
resources, financial resources, monitoring, we need to be able to look
at things that are working and say great let’s do more
or back away from them. We need to get much more nimble and agile
in terms of trying things in moving away. And I know this is, again, it’s very
straightforward, it’s really hard to do. I have personally tried to stop, I
think, two large multilateral efforts. And I have the bruises to show for it. We slowed down one but people
get so vested in something that they just want to keep going at it. But it’s like if it’s not working, let’s
move the resources some place else. So we have to really– we have
to really think about this. And let me just mention what I think are
out there as two really large challenges, now that I have mentioned
some of the positive things, just let me mention a couple
of the big challenges. I really see two of them. And one is related to rate constants
and the other is related to ideology. And what I see is that the policy process at the
national and international level, moves very, very, very slowly, painfully, so. And typically, the processes– policy
processes are built that way for a reason. They should be deliberative. They should be participatory, no
sudden changes, no jerking around. But our ability at the national and
international level to make fundamental changes in our energy profiles, in our development
choices, and in our investment choices, that’s moving at a much slower rate than the
environmental changes that we are causing. And so we need to pay attention
to this, and we need to think about how we can change our systems in some way. And it’s really a challenge of
learning how to built trust, so processes can go forward
a little more easily. In the course of my career, I have
seen an enormous growth of advocacy and special interest groups getting
narrower and narrower and narrower, as to what topic they’re trying to make,
you know, a point about and to push ahead. And this is very important. They’re really important to
have all those voices out there. But I think we also have to think about how
do we begin to build coalitions around topics? Some of this is happening. We’re seeing this internationally with those
groups of nations who are coming together. We also see in some of the NGO communities, we
need to do more of this because it’s a challenge of learning how to compromise, because
it’s not, as I’ve said in the couple of classes, it’s not black or white. There’s a middle ground we have
to find to go forward here. It’s also a challenge of maintaining
political will which, again, is something that said very easily but is really
quite difficult with the agenda that’s out there to sort of stay focused on something. The second large challenge is ideology. We often find ourselves. And I say, we– let me say, I often find myself
and my colleagues at the state department who work on this issue in
discussions where we hit up against ideas that are
presented as absolutes. For example, national sovereignty is weakened
by our joining any international agreement. Or, that somehow, there is a specific defined
amount of science that we need to tell us that climate change is really happening. Or, and this is the international
version of kind of hitting a wall, that once a country is a developing
country, it is always a developing country. Now, you know, dealing with ideology is a very
difficult thing to do, because it is presented with such certainty that there is a real
temptation to blast right back with certainty. And what I find is this usually
perpetuates a very nonproductive loop, because all you keep doing is
saying the same thing to each other. We must really continue to take on these ideas
with engagement at all levels, in neighborhoods, across the aisle in Congress
and around the world. And I think, with education and objective
data to better understand the complexity of the challenges we face, those
dialogues may be more productive. But we also must take it on this
discussion of these ideas that are difficult with something else that I
just want to put out there. We must take them on with enormous
fortitude, because we have to keep at this for the long run and it is not fast process. It is a chipping away process. So with that, let me thank
you for your attention. And I’m happy to take any of your questions. [ Applause ]>>Fortitude is a very good place to break. I just wanted to mention one thing that I–
or two things that I didn’t in the beginning. First is cards, if they have been already
been handed out, it will be handed out. We’re doing some survey work on our audience. So I hope that you will take a
moment to fill those out at the end. The other, well, which I’ve neglected to
mention at the outset which is another– a testament to Kerri-Ann’s fortitude, is let
me want to ask a question or two about this, is that one of her very favorite issues which
she was stuck with for five years was Keystone. So–>>As in the pipeline.>>And with that, I’ll give
you back to Kerri-Ann.>>Thank you. Thank you for that Dan. [ Laughter ] Yes, over here.>>I want to ask why the US is
not a member of the Biodiversity? Sorry.>>The Biodiversity Convention.>>Yeah, that the US isn’t a member of the–>>Right.>>– Biodiversity Convention. And I wondered what that convention says very
briefly and why we’re not signed on to it.>>OK. It talks about a whole range of species,
and what we should be doing to protect them. It talks about targets in terms of
setting aside conservation areas on land and marine protected areas. And those were the easy parts. It also talks a little bit about
access to genetic resources. And that has always been the sticking point,
you know, who owns what genetic resources. And that has always been a bit
of a North-South discussion. I mean, we with our biotechnology industry
always kind of think we can just go in and take things and then we extract the genes. And there is much more to it than that. So I think when that came up,
there’s been a lot of work done on this and it’s been clarified a lot. And I think the industries are
not so adamantly against it. I think they have been supportive,
more and more supportive. But, as that treaty got into a better
place, more treaties got on the list that we needed to get through the Senate. So it’s a question of where
is it in terms of priority and then sorting out some of the other issues. There’s also been a new protocol just recently
negotiated on that called the Nagoya Protocol, which is specifically targeted
at access and benefit-sharing. It has to do with, if you take something out
of a country and you get some benefit from it, how does that country get the benefit back? And that brings a lot of
nervousness into US industry as each country is going to have its own system. It’s also made some researchers very nervous
in terms of getting a permit to go in and then do research and
not anything commercial. So there’s a lot of static around this treaty. Back here.>>Recently in a conversation
with a scientist friend, we were talking about peer reviewed science.>>Yes.>>And, I suggest that what we really
need is a constitutional amendment that says all legislative action will
be based on peer reviewed science. And my friend said, “You know, this really won’t
work because it’s just too easy for opposition to find some new review that– in which
you can publish the views of the opposition with opposition peers whom
they carefully groomed.” And I just wondered what
your thought was on that?>>Well, it’s interesting. I was at the National Science
Foundation for a while. And the term peer review hasn’t
some places of all to merit review. And there’s a whole debate
in the science community about what’s the best term of– or to use there. But I think that it does sort of take on
different meanings in different places. And so, I don’t know that having
that as a piece of legislation to support all other legislation would
move or how it would be interpreted. I think it’s something that we have to
call any policy that we’re putting forward. We have to call that question
of where is the science on it. But the– my point about the science
literacy is once we call that question, we have to have people who understands the
science that they’re being told at some level. But I think it would be very difficult to
pass a law like that and very difficult to then somehow make sure that it was actually
not changing the terminology in some way that we just become a bigger mess.>>I was thinking of ALEC.>>Right.>>And how that place into–>>Right.>>– legislature’s views.>>Next, any other– right here.>>So you talked a lot–>>There’s a coming mike.>>You talked a lot about negotiation
between governments and organizations, NGOs. I’m also interested in hearing how the
role of corporations have evolved–>>Sure.>>– over time in this negotiation process. On the one hand, you have, you know,
companies that caused a lot of pollution. On the other, you have corporations that take
a lot of corporate social responsibility.>>Right.>>And recently, there’s also been new
financial instrument such as Green Bond, a carbon emission tax that,
you know, have increased ways which corporations can participate
in a more positive no. So, could you just kind of–>>Sure, sure.>>– talk more about that.>>I mean, you’ve said a lot of it. I mean, there’s just a range
of corporate behavior. And what we would try to do
whenever we’re negotiating, there’s this effort to work
with all stakeholders. So usually, there’s meetings with industry
or industry associations who will come in. That’s done before the climate negotiations. It was done before the mercury negotiations. And it gets very specific
depending on the industries. So some industries will come in and with
willingness to work towards alternatives, and others will come in and say, “We
can’t possibly shift away from X, Y or Z. In the Montreal Protocol,
there is actually room in there for countries requesting exemptions for certain
chemicals, so that it gives industry time. So there is this participation with industry. And on the corporate social responsibility,
I think that is very much increasing where you see corporations participating in a
number of projects to work on the environment. And the one I was most involved with was lot of
companies working on water trying to do more. But it has this whole– the landscape of
companies cover so many different behaviors and options that, you know, it’s just that
you have all different kinds of players. Some are adamantly against, some participate, and then some actually try to
bring solutions to the table. But we do very much try to work with industry. One of the things that’s tricky is, how
do you, you know, meet with all of them. And so, that’s why associations begin to become
important because you can’t just be going to the same ones all the time
because that’s unequal treatment. And so, it’s something that again has to be
thought through and managed in terms of access and often no beyond delegations, too. When we went to Rio recently, a couple of years
ago, we had some industry members on that team. Over here.>>Thanks for your part in the Minamata treaty. I’m one of the scientists that’s been
lucky enough to be participating–>>Great.>>– in some of that. But, one of the things I found when I went
to the last negotiating conference, I– it was just really interesting to me because
I turn to people around me and said, “Why now? We as scientists have known
about mercury and from–>>Right.>>– associating with this for 20 plus years.”>>Right.>>And, the person I asked that who
said, “It’s because Obama is president.”>>Well–>>And so, that’s one part of my question is that how much does it take a
particular political figure?>>Right.>>And then the second, was that because
the technology for mercury controls–>>Sure.>>– emissions has now gotten to be affordable.>>Right.>>And so, that was another case.>>Right, right.>>So, I’m thinking about that
in terms of the climate treaty. I’m wondering, is– do we need those things too?>>Well, I think, we certainly
need political will which is one of the points I sort of ended with. And if you’ve been involved with the Mercury
Convention, you know that the proposal to have such an international convention
was out there for a few years. And the US said, “No, we don’t want this. We don’t want this. We don’t want this. We don’t want this. We don’t want to have to negotiate anything. We have our laws in place.” But when President Obama
won, he changed that policy. So, you do have to, in some cases,
have that kind of leadership. We are still sometimes in a place
where we don’t want a treaty. So, I’m not trying to say that this is– there
are times, we don’t say yes to every treaty, but these seem like a very
important treaty and he wanted it. So first of all, that turned it around. Second, your point is very good that
we also– the technology has advanced. And so, that really made the case with a lot of
other country’s willingness in the negotiations because they felt emission levels could
be set that they could reach, right? So that was a second thing. The other thing for the US and why we were
able to not only sign it but joined it, was because we did not have to
do any domestic legislation to be in compliance with that agreement, OK? Because that also is always another hurdle,
because there’s a couple of treaties out there related to persistent
organic chemicals. And there is one related to
prior and formed a consent for moving different kinds
of toxins across borders. They’ve been stuck. And one of the reasons they’ve been stuck is because they need some domestic
legislation for us to be in compliance. And we’ve been unable to move
that domestic legislation. It’s EPA legislation. And, you know, sometimes, EPA’s
legislation is not well-met on the hill. And so, there are these multiple
pieces that have to fall into place. And so, it’s very– it’s a kind of dynamic
process both political and technical. Other questions? Oh, over here.>>I really appreciate your optimism.>>Thank you.>>However–>>I’m maybe foolish but I have it.>>– it seems to me that there’s
a big cog in the wheel of progress. And that’s centers around how money
influences decisions in our congress. And how do you– from your perspective,
how do you see solving that problem because we’re being choked
to death by inactivity–>>Right.>>– as far as climate is concerned.>>Right. Well, you know, that
question is outside of my former job. But I have a personal opinion on this. My personal opinion is more people have to vote. It’s to me and I’ve said this to a couple of
students, you know, I’ve heard people say, “Well, this is our congress so, you
know, the Congress is terrible.” I said, “Well, it’s our congress. Somebody is electing people. Somebody is voting for these people.” I mean, they’re elected. You know, the less turnout
that we had was terrible. It was embarrassing. I mean, I go to countries around the
world who just surpass us in turnout. And where we then say, we’re the best democracy. Wow, right? So, we have to get the vote out. We have to get people elected who
are not going to be that influence. Now, that’s a problem. And we also have to– I mean, I’m kind of an
education person, you know, down to my roots. It’s, you know, if somebody has
enough money to do a lot of ads, why should that change everything so much? I mean, why should that change how people
vote if you really know the issues? Because we know how bad those ads are. I mean, I look at those ads and I, you
know, some of them, they’re just garbage. I mean, they’re not true. But, I think that, we don’t have a population
that really engages politically or wants to be really well informed
about some of these issues. Now, to really get at the cog, we have to change
that legislation about who can contribute, why don’t we have to turn that back. But I don’t think these other elements
were part of solving that problem because somebody is electing these people. And, you know, I think that this last
election is– was very interesting. I don’t remember hearing environment
mentioned a lot in any of these races. And so, if there was a concern about it
and if voters were really complaining to people, maybe it would show up more. I think we need to think about how we do that. And I think, you know, I was talking
to one of the post docs earlier, it’s about outreach to the community. It’s about talking to the people who have
very different opinions from what you have. And I think that’s difficult but I
think that’s sort of where we are. It’s a very basic grassroots
change I think we have to work on. There was one over here. Yes?>>I’m interested in your
point about how they’re– if we have too many resources going to
things that aren’t working and that we need to nimble and move away from that. And I’m wondering if you can give some examples
of things that you’ve seen in your time or that are happening currently that you think
we should be diverting our attention away from that we’re putting too many
financial or human resources into now.>>There was a– I can give you
one example that I was involved in which was the Commission
on Sustainable Development. I don’t know if any of you know it. It was a commission that came out
of, I think, one of the Rio meeting or maybe the second meeting in that chain. And it was nations getting together,
and they were working on topics. And it was supposed to be
sort of a dynamic commission. And in my first few years at the
state department, the only thing I saw about it was a whole team would go to New York and they’re be totally deadlocked negotiating
something that nobody was really following. Not that they weren’t in some ways important,
but they were being negotiated at other places. They were deadlocked. And the feeling was, why are we doing this? Why are we doing this? Because it’s expensive to send a delegation. It’s expensive to do the preparatory meetings. We also, in many of the developed countries, helped pay for the developing
countries to attend somebody’s meeting. So there’s a lot of cost. And so, there was an effort to redesign that. And I think there’s a new– there’s a different
approach to dealing with sustainable development that has come out some of the last meetings. But I think they’re going
to have one more meeting. And I was like, “So why do
we need this last meeting?” And then, it was like, “OK, this–
I’ve taken this as far as I can.” But that’s the kind of thing where you get into
a process and either, there may be a process that overcomes it or it may just get
so bugged down that you have to say, “Maybe we should do this differently.” But it’s a very hard thing to do because
people get, as I said, they get vested in it. It’s becomes part of their identity. It becomes of their workload. And it just, you have to change them. Programmatically, I mean, I was
involved in something years ago with NSF where there was this effort to
give lots of little bits of money at an international activities, right? And, I guess, I had spent
sometime in some universities. And I thought, you know, “Why
don’t we do bigger grants? Why don’t we stop these small
grants and give out bigger grants?” And I wasn’t going to change– I was
a program, head of a program office, I wasn’t going to change the budget. I was going to change how the money went out. So it wasn’t cutting but I was affecting
some individual program officers. That took a long time to make that. We made it. We finally made it but it took
a long time to make that change. And so, I think we have to
get in terms of dealing with these big environmental
problems a little bit more nimble because we have technology
coming along at a rapid pace. And we should be able to try things and
move it and collect data and assess things. But often, I think we are all very excited
with the brand new thing that can be announced. And then, somebody moves away and
starts some other brand new thing. And there’s a team here who’s going
to have to carry this workload to really follow through on what they’re doing. So, it’s– I think it’s,
you know, it’s a real issue. It’s in the weeds but I think it’s
something that affects our resource space and our ability to cover a lot of things. Yes?>>During your tenure working– during your
tenure, what was your favorite part for a job? And what was– what do you consider to be
maybe the biggest challenge that you had?>>OK. Well, you know, I tried to
keep my job in little categories because there were some things
that I really hated. And I wanted to name them. [ Laughter ] I would say that I really enjoyed the
part of my job that brought the science into all the different pieces of the
portfolio, because it was something– in a bureaucracy, things tend to get stovepiped. I mean, universities know that about
department through disciplines. And that’s very true in government, you know. And so, it was very nice. I enjoyed trying to get the public– the
health people to talk to the environment people or the oceans people to talk
to the health people, you know. I enjoyed that sort of cross-fertilization. The issues– I liked most of the issues. I mean, most of the issues were important. You could make progress. They were important to both secretaries
I work for because I did stay on and work for year with Secretary Kerry. They were– So they– that when you’re
in Washington and if you have issues that everybody wants to make progress
on, that is a wonderful thing. And so, that was a very positive thing. Some of the negative things were and I
think, you probably get the sense of this. The bureaucracy does wear you down. I mean, I think as Dan was saying,
you work really, really long hours. You don’t see your family quite
as much as you would like to. And when you do see them, you’re
usually not in a good mood. And so, I think the personal cause is something
that a lot of people don’t get a sense of. The Keystone Pipeline which I’ll mention
was a very– is a very challenging issue. And it was a very challenging issue
for the state department to have. And, you know, the reason we
have it as an executive order and there’s a whole history there. But, you know, it was a great portfolio. I mean, I was a very lucky
person to have that job. And I learned a tremendous amount from it. So– And there’s a great team
there who were still working on it. So, I hope, they continue to
be able to do a lot of things. That’s tough. Anything else I can answer for you? Oh, one more.>>I was very curious about– can you explain
a little more this concept of equal treatment of different constituencies and stakeholders? I have some inclined appreciation for
a challenge that would be for somebody in the position that you were in, having attended some treaty negotiations
around the Cartagena Protocol–>>Right, sure.>>– on Biosafety. And when I think about the climate change issue, it seems like one of the really key
stakeholders is children and future generations.>>Right.>>And so, I just wonder, what could
somebody in the position you were in do to actually elevate explicit representation
of them, especially if there are also people such as industry leaders
being parts of delegations. And I recognized that, you know, there are many
different perspectives in industry and that some of them are actually seriously engaging
in trying to come up with a solution. But at the same time, we realized that, you
know, the elephant in the room is that we have to figure out actually how to really move
away from needing to use fossil fuels at all. And that is clearly a threat to some of the
most successful businesses in our society. So, it seems like a really big challenge,
is, well then, how do we really actually try to really honor the idea of equal treatment and
have those unheard voices also be represented. Perhaps, even at the level of delegations. How does somebody like you think about that
and what kind of leeway in the job you had which you have to actually
make that become more explicit.>>Well, I think the example that comes to mind
is when we were preparing for the Rio+20 meeting which was, you know, the 20th anniversary
of the Earth, the first Earth conference. And we very much try to involve the next
generation through programs, through activities. The US had a pavilion, had like the center
because now, a lot of these negotiations and this is true of many negotiations. You have the mainstream very formal negotiation. And then you have all the
side activity going on. And the side activity is important. And so, we had a lot of, I think,
we had a youth science group there. And we had other groups to
try to come in and speak. And so, that’s sort of how we engage them. But on the delegation, I am trying
to think if we ever had students. And I’m not sure that we did. I mean, we sort of had students who may
be interns at the department at that time but we hadn’t really, I think, had
a student on that delegation team. Some of it is because when you get down
to counting the actual delegation team, you sometimes have to have people who
have to be able to go into the chair. Not the main chair but some chair at the table. And so, that’s a little bit harder. I think there is an effort to
try to make sure that everyone who is affected is somehow involved either
through their groups or involved in some of this kind of side events that happen. It’s not a great answer to your question
in terms of are they there at the table. And I would say no. And from a different perspective, we
worked hard over the last few years to have women involved much more
in the climate negotiations. Not just– I mean, the US often have women
on a delegation but around the world. And that it was felt that women
were the ones who were going to deal with adaptation to a large extent. I mean, they are the ones who are going to
make a lot of changes and get things done. I’m biased. And so, I think that there was a sense
that they needed to be more involved. And we try to actually do that
programmatically in a number of different ways. But we have to think more about that
question that you raised with children. Yeah? [ Inaudible Remark ] Yeah, throw him around.>>So you’ve given us a great view
from the front lines and the diplomacy. And now, I’m going to take you out of your
comfort zone and then ask you, you know, the diplomacy is one source of public despair
that whoever get the agreements in the– that we need, but the other
is the domestic political–>>Right.>>– situation. You, I’m sure, spent an enormous
amount of time talking to people up on the hill about various agreements. And I’m curious, you know, the first big climate
agreement, I think, was preemptively killed 99 to 0 or something like that in the Senate. Is there ever going to be an agreement
that the US will sign on to that is going to get the advice and consent
of the United States Senate?>>Right.>>I mean, the political landscape
has changed tremendously–>>Right.>>– but maybe not tremendously enough?>>Well, I think first of all, the first– the actual UN framework convention on
climate, we signed on to and we joined. That’s why we are at the
table in all these caps. But that was the shell. That was, you know, let’s do good things. This is a problem. Let’s make things happen. The question you raised is a really hard one. And the answer really is it depends on the
nature of what comes out of this negotiation. There are a lot of interests,
concerned about the US might sign on to in terms of legally binding agreement. Will this be legally binding? Will this be voluntary? How will it all play out? And all of these plays into then what is the
nature of the agreement that goes forward. And will the Senate accept
or provide their advice and consent so the president can ratify it. I think it’s going to be very difficult. I think that there is hope that this may be able
to be some sort of flexible, creative document. But it’s a real challenge because you have
all these countries sitting around there. You have the way it’s been done before. And, you know, there’s an effort
to try to break new ground. So I don’t know. I don’t have an answer. I don’t see right now the Senate–
where the Senate is comprised, the way the Senate is talking about the
climate, that they would sort of vote on this. And, you know, they’ve put out there that
they’re not happy with a lot of things. Now, they did a while ago, one of the
big problems that came out of Kyoto, was that there were these two
classes of countries, you know, classes that had to follow things
and classes that really didn’t, the developed versus the developing. And that’s been one of the biggest issues that
has been worked on year after year after year. And that has really moved along. And it’s not that the language now doesn’t
recognize that there is different levels of development and different
level of capacities, but it’s really each country
needs to work from where they are. So there hasn’t– there’s an effort to
try to do a way with this bright line between developed and developing. And so there’s been motion on that. Is it completely solved? No, because this is again, in terms
of the ideology I was mentioning, this is an idealogy that’s in international
community that we’re still working on. But I don’t– I think it’s going to be tough. I think it would be very tough to get something
through the Senate, but at the same time, I don’t know what the nature of the
final agreement would look like. And maybe, there is some way that
will be something very different. Fingers crossed. But everything else still
has to keep going forward. All the other initiatives and all the
other efforts to turn things back, because this treaty, your convention or whatever
it is, it’s not going to solve the problem. It’s one step in all of the
different things that have to be done to change the behavior of many, many countries. Anything else before–>>Give her a break. [ Laughter ] [ Applause ]>>OK. Well, we’ve certainly
seen what stamina is about. And I want to thank you all, again, for coming. And above all, I want to thank Kerri-Ann
for a fantastic presentation that takes us into a world pretty far moved from
most of us but vitally important.




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