Obama's climate change talks strategy leaked
Document shows that US unwilling to modify the Copenhagen accord at UN talks in Cancun
President Obama's hardline environmental strategy has been revealed after a document containing the administration's stance on the Copenhagen accord and ‘key messages’ on the issue was leaked.
The month-old document, entitled 'strategic communications objectives', was left on a hotel computer and forwarded to the Guardian, which has reprinted it in its entirety.
It comes on the same day that India's environment minister revealed that a leak of a draft agreement to the same paper on the eve of the Copenhagen summit was partly responsible for the unsatisfactory conclusion to the summit last December.
The US document outlines Obama's stance in the run-up to the vital UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico in November, and indicates that America will refuse to renegotiate separate aspects of the last-minute deal that was thrashed out in Copenhagen last December.
The deal was thrown together as the summit ended in near chaos, but some developing countries were unhappy at what they saw as a lack of ambition in the final targets. The likes of China, India and Brazil were keen to renegotiate parts of the deal agreement at the meeting in Cancun later this year.
Critics of the deal were also unhappy that there were no specific targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases in the final accord and that it allowed for a temperature rise of 2°C - which many fear will cause serious problems in the Pacific Ocean, Africa and Asia.
However the US strategy will be to try and push through the Copenhagen accord (CA) without modification. The document states that the administration wants to "create a clear understanding of the CA's standing and the importance of operationalising ALL elements."
It also states that the US's main objective is to "reinforce the perception that the US is constructively engaged in UN negotiations in an effort to produce a global regime to combat climate change. This includes support for a symmetrical and legally binding treaty."
The document also outlines a media strategy that does not leave the administration reliant on mainstream media. In a section entitled 'media outreach' it advocates the "use of off-the-record conversations" and suggests that the administration takes "greater advantage of new media opportunities such as podcasts to advance US position in the field bypassing traditional media outlets."
It also says that there should be a "series of policy speeches/public forums during trips abroad to make our case directly to the developing world".
The leak to the Guardian comes on the same day that India's environment minister Jairam Ramesh claimed that the Copenhagen summit was undermined by the leak of a draft agreement to the same paper.
The draft agreement - presented by the Danish government on the eve of the conference - was not seen as acceptable by China and India. "The Danish draft was circulated at the beginning of the conference, which got mysteriously leaked to the Guardian. That completely destroyed trust," said Ramesh. ·
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