SustainUS member Jennie Hatch Reports from Climate Intercessionals in Bonn, Germany!

reetings from Bonn!

It’s my second day here in Bonn at the intercessional climate negotiations (AWG-KP 7/AWG-LCA 5) and already I’ve felt every spectrum of emotion hearing the various commitments and non-commitments, strong stances and blocks from various parties to the conference. From Stern’s thrillingly bland announcement that the US was back and so far committing to a whopping return to 1990 levels by 2020 to the science-based AOSIS assertions of 40% by 2020, some countries are still catching up to legitimate emissions targets.

I won’t go in to details about policy here, as Anna Keenan has been diligently posting detailed updates from Bonn that I don’t need to repeat. However I will say one thing: calls are coming from across the world to put pressure on the US congress and help Obama keep his commitment to strong leadership on climate change. We have some major catching up to do, and Obama can’t (and doesn’t necessarily want to) do it alone.

This morning, the draft Waxman bill was released. The bill is a strong start; it gets us closer to where we need to be, and could be a necessary push from the United States. The Waxman bill puts us ahead of Russia, Japan, Australia and Canada—as it is in the draft. We can pat ourselves on the back for not being dead last anymore. But you can be sure the dirty energy lobby has already taken out the red pen and started destroying emissions reductions targets. That’s a scary thought, considering that the bill sets 2020 emissions reductions to 22%-25% below 1990 levels, when the IPCC states that reductions in 2020 need to be at 25%-40% below 1990 levels. We’re close, but we’re not there. We can’t afford to let this bill get any weaker.

The most important work that can be done for Copenhagen right now is making sure this bill stays strong and ends up stronger. It’s time to lobby–big time. Not only is it important that the bill comes out strong, but also that it comes out soon. Strong targets need to be included in a draft text to be submitted six months before COP 15. That means the US has three months to show the world that it is serious about science-based emissions reductions, and to get those targets in to a new text. We don’t need to get the bill passed and implemented, we just need to make sure it is strengthened—not destroyed—and comes out of committee as shiny and hopeful as Obama seemed a few months ago.

Get on your Representatives now! If you don’t, you can be sure that dirty energy will.

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