(BN) Climate Skepticism in U.S. Puzzles Other Nations, Stern Says


Climate Skepticism in U.S. Puzzles Other Nations, Stern Says
2010-11-19 00:43:35.855 GMT

By Kim Chipman
Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Skepticism in the U.S. about climate
change bewilders other nations after midterm congressional
elections in which opposition to global warming became an issue,
Obama administration climate negotiator Todd Stern said.
"People from around the world look at some of the things
that people who were running for the Senate or the House said,
and some of the positions that were taken," and "there is
puzzlement," Stern said yesterday at a news briefing in
Arlington, Virginia.
At least three dozen candidates for Congress were elected
after campaigning against proposals to regulate greenhouse-gas
emissions. The Senate failed to pass climate-change legislation
this year and President Barack Obama, who backed the measure,
supports efforts to craft a new treaty combating global warming.
Global negotiators have "a lot of faith in the overall
commitment of our administration and of so many people on
the Hill and throughout the country," Stern said.
Still, Americans need to be educated about global warming,
he said.
"The message needs to be disseminated," Stern said. While
"climate deniers" represent a minority, "there's no question
it is something that needs to be addressed and dealt with in
this country," he said.
Stern spoke after a two-day meeting of the world's 17
biggest greenhouse-gas emitters. The talks focused on working
toward common ground when about 190 countries gather Nov. 29 in
Cancun, Mexico, for United Nations-led climate-treaty talks. A
similar meeting in Copenhagen last year failed to reach a
legally binding agreement.

'Optimist, Pessimist'

"I would describe myself right now as neither an optimist
nor a pessimist," Stern said when asked about prospects for
He reiterated his expectation that countries won't reach
agreement on a binding accord in Mexico.
There won't be any "enormous leaps forward," though
"real and concrete steps" can be made, he said.
Stern said the UN remains the preferred vehicle for global-
climate negotiations, though he warned that eventually progress
must be shown.
"The process can't continually stalemate and remain the
locus of activity," Stern said. If the Cancun talks and
meetings in South Africa next year fall short, it will become
clear at some point that "it's not going to work," he said.

For Related News and Information:
Top environmental stories: TOP ENV <GO>
Carbon markets: EMIS <GO>
News about the EPA: NI EPA <GO>

--Editors: Steve Geimann, Larry Liebert

To contact the reporters on this story:
Kim Chipman in Washington at +1-202-624-1927 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Larry Liebert at +1-202-624-1936 or