State Dept. climate envoy talks global accord, US expectations

The State Department's special climate change envoy said on Tuesday that the U.S. has learned a great deal from previous attempts to forge a global treaty, and this time around negotiations will be different.

Todd Stern remains optimistic and said unlike the "raucous" meeting at the 2009 Copenhagen conference, countries are already working to ensure the Paris talks next year run more smoothly.

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"This new agreement will not be the Kyoto Protocol," Stern promised, referencing the treaty signed in 1997 that only included developed countries.

"The new agreement would have obligations and expectations that would apply to all countries," he said.

Stern stressed the need for world leaders to understand what they are undertaking, and the goal of the global treaty at its core in order to be successful in Paris.

"We should agree on an angle of the [Paris] conference this year in Lima, Peru," Stern said on Tuesday at discussion hosted by Yale University.

Leaders will be in Lima later this year to talk about climate change and craft a draft for the global accord to cut greenhouse gas emissions and tackle global warming.

"The U.S. supports an agreement that is ambitious, inclusive, and durable," Stern said.

Stern said that the U.S. supports a proposal put on the table by New Zealand more than any other. It would include legally binding provisions such as requiring countries to release a schedule of emissions reduction targets, accounting, and reporting.

But Stern added that the "content of the commitment itself would not be legally binding."

When asked if he expects China and India to work with the U.S. ahead of Paris, Stern said so far the administration's relationship with China on climate change negotiations has been "quite active."

When it comes to India, Stern said, he is "hopeful" but admitted that he doesn't know exactly where they stand, and that the country's leaders have been "waxing and waning" on climate change commitments.

Stern said to expect national determined contributions from each country nine months before Paris with agreements to regularly update them.