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Yvo de Boer on U.S. Climate Policy

Interviewee: Yvo de Boer
Interviewer: Toni Johnson
June 13, 2008

Many environmental activists believe the Bush administration’s stance on climate change has damaged U.S. credibility and retarded U.S. influence in talks on an agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. However, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, says he is encouraged that both 2008 presidential candidates pledge to put climate change high on their policy agendas. He also notes that both Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), “show ambition and want to take this topic forward.” De Boer says “we are in the rare comfortable position that whoever wins the U.S. election will deliver a stronger position on climate change.”

De Boer also is encouraged that the legislative proposals before the U.S. Congress would position U.S. efforts in line with international efforts going on currently. However he cautions against using trade tariffs as a way to force developing nations into a mandatory emissions regime. “We are at the beginning of a two-year negotiating process and I don't think that it's particularly constructive to then get out a big stick and start threatening people with what will happen if there is a failure to reach agreements,” he says.

Read more of the interview here.

Editor's Note: This interview was recorded last month.

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