Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2008 – After returning from a major United Nations climate change conference in Poznan, Poland, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, offered to meet President-elect Barack Obama to discuss his impressions of the conference as well as a new negotiating strategy for an international climate change treaty.
On November 18, speaking by videotape to the Bi-Partisan Governors’ Global Climate Summit, President-elect Obama said he would rely on reports from Members of Congress attending the conference:
“While I won't be president at the time of your meeting and while the United States has only one president at a time, I've asked members of Congress who are attending the conference as observers to report back to me on what they learn there.”
In a letter sent yesterday to the President-elect, Sensenbrenner said his meetings last week with international representatives at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change showed there has been little progress on a critical issue, despite more than a decade of climate change negotiations.
“The Kyoto Protocol was a failure because it did not include international participation from developing nations like China and India,” Sensenbrenner said. He further believes that the current negotiations are “recreating Kyoto’s fatal flaws.”
In Poland, Chinese and Indian negotiators told Sensenbrenner that their countries would not accept legally-binding emission reduction requirements. “Unless these conditions are met in a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, the U.S. Senate is unlikely to ratify it,” Sensenbrenner said.
Last week’s meetings in Poland were the fourth major UNFCCC meeting attended by Sensenbrenner, who was the only member of the House of Representatives to observe the Poznan conference and the only Member of Congress to observe the entire final week. In 1997, Sensenbrenner led the House delegation that observed the negotiations that led to the Kyoto Protocol.
He also met with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and former Vice President Al Gore while in Poland, and both agreed that any international climate change treaty must include mandatory emissions reductions from developing countries.
Sensenbrenner offered to provide President-elect Obama with a complete briefing of his meetings in Poznan and his impressions of the current state of negotiations.
Click here for the letter to President-Elect Obama.
Click here for the letter to Senator Kerry.