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Amanda Little's Posts

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Thomas Friedman talks COP15, Mother Nature, and Father Greed

Thomas FriedmanHours before the outcome of the Copenhagen conference was revealed, I sat down with New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman to discuss the implications of the historic summit. No matter what happens in Copenhagen, said Friedman, what matters most is what happens at home: Where the U.S. goes, so goes the world. But we can't lead the world without charting a path for ourselves. [UPDATE: See video highlights from the interview at the bottom of the page.] Q. Did you have high expectations for Cop15? A. I really question this whole process -- and to some extent, its premise. …

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Why is everyone so pissed at Obama?

An insufficient deal has been struck at Copenhagen, leaving many participants dismayed by the outcome and miffed at President Obama. Resentment toward Obama had been building throughout the day, and it spilled over as I went looking for food. After buying a plate of lentils at a cafeteria inside the Bella Center, I sat down at a round plastic table occupied by three European journalists -- a German, a Brit, and a Dane. "What do you have to say for your president?" the German demanded, nursing his third beer. Come again? "Why would he fly all the way here for …

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Chatting with Gore and Markey over canapes

As negotiations reached a rapid boil at the Bella Center last night, and expectations for a positive outcome at COP15 simultaneously soared and sank, some U.S. leaders took a brief reprieve in the neighborhood of Rydhave -- a wealthy enclave of Copenhagen about 25 minutes outside of the city center. Gathered at the personal residence of U.S. Ambassador Laurie Fulton were the members of the congressional delegation led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (including climate advocates like Henry Waxman and Edward Markey, and foes such as Marsha Blackburn. Also present was surprise guest climate megastar -- Al Gore. Here, amid warm …

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Tim Wirth says imperfect deal at Copenhagen better than no deal

Timothy Wirth, head of the United Nations Foundation, has a long-term perspective on climate negotiations -- and he says people who contend that no deal is better than an imperfect deal are "flat wrong." While serving as undersecretary of state for global affairs during the Clinton administration, Wirth led the U.S. delegation to Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, where the Kyoto Protocol was signed. Wirth previously served as a U.S. representative and senator from Colorado. I spoke with him on Wednesday, and here are highlights in video and text: Q. What makes this climate conference different from previous ones? A. It's …

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John Kerry on whether a weak climate deal is better than no deal at all

COPENHAGEN -- As climate negotiators hash out the eleventh-hour details of an operational accord, one question looms over the discussions: Is a weak deal better than no deal at all? I put that question and others to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in a sit-down interview yesterday. The chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee admitted that all bets are off on a getting climate bill out of the U.S. Senate if we can't reach some kind of agreement in Copenhagen. "No deal at all would kill an effort in the Senate," said Kerry. Here's a video excerpt from the interview. …

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‘Transparency’ is a hot issue in Copenhagen — but what does it mean?

Sergio Barbosa Serra. Photo courtesy Brazilian governmentCOPENHAGEN -- I just had a cappuccino with Sergio Barbosa Serra, Brazil's ambassador of climate change and one of the country's top delegates at the Copenhagen talks. We discussed what's going to get hashed out over the next 36 hours of the U.N. climate conference. He boiled the challenge down to this: World leaders will be trying to define and make sense of the "transparency" that the U.S. is demanding of China and other developing nations. This talk of "transparency" is a departure from the language of "measurable, reportable, and verifiable" (MRV), which has …

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For Wisconsin’s Doyle, it’s all about green jobs

When you think of renewable energy, the image that comes to mind is often a solar array in California, a windmill in Texas, or a cornfield in Iowa. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) wants you to think of Wisconsin first, which explains why he's one of several governors attending the Copenhagen climate talks. I sat down with him for a brief interview. An edited transcript follows: Q. Where are the opportunities for job development in the larger effort to achieve climate solutions? Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (center) at the Climate Leaders Summit in Copenhagen.The Climate Group via Flickr A. Well, …

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Steve Howard on our energy-efficient future

Steve Howard, CEO of the non-partisan nonprofit organization The Climate Group, took some time away from his Copenhagen climate duties to share a tantalizing glimpse into our energy future: Q. How will our day-to-day lives change if we really do adopt more sustainable energy practices and products? A. You'll walk out of a building and you'll get into your electric vehicle. Your electric vehicle will have been charged, but it won't have been charged from a coal plant power station. It will be sun from the southwest of the U.S., or it will be wind from the North Sea of …

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Gregoire: ‘America is back in its rightful position’

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) is in Copenhagen for the last few days of the climate conference. I sat down with her for a brief interview. An edited transcript follows: Q. The spirit of optimism is higher in my conversations with governors than with any other officials at this conference. What drives your optimism and how do you see that playing out in your state? Gov. Chris Gregoire is talking up America's climate leadership this week in Copenhagen.File photo / WSDOT via Flickr A. Let me take you back to about 2006. President Hu Jintao [of China] visited the U.S. …

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Schwarzenegger lowers expectations for Copenhagen

Looking tanned and coiffed, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stood in sharp contrast to the wan, glum denizens of Copenhagen's Bella Center. According to one political insider, the typical morale trajectory for a conference of this scale is cautious optimism for the first few days, despair in the middle, a spurt of can-do spirit in the final days, and either total despair or euphoria in the final hours. We're in the despair phase at the moment, with everyone fretting that details aren't being hammered out fast enough for any meaningful agreement to be signed at week's end. In an attempt to …