100 People to Watch This Fall : Page 5 of 102

Todd Stern State Department special envoy for climate change

As the lead U.S. climate negotiator, Stern will be tasked with securing deliverable commitments from other nations heading into the United Nations talks scheduled for 2015.

Climate experts say time is of the essence. They say drastic action is needed fast to maintain a 2009 pledge to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the decade.

Stern will have some ammunition heading into those talks. President Obama’s climate focus could put the screws to China and India, which will need to cooperate in order for the White House to achieve any sort of measurable progress.

In seeking international cooperation, Stern and the White House have abandoned the quest for across-the-board emissions reductions that were sought in previous forums. Their new strategy provides more flexibility to other nations looking to reach emissions reduction goals.