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United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy and Environmental Policy

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The Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Development, Multilateral Institutions and International Economic, Energy and Environmental Policy is one of seven subcommittees of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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  • ✪ Negotiating for the Planet: Environmental & Climate Diplomacy
  • ✪ The Revolution in American Trade Policy
  • ✪ 2019 State of the University Address


>> I'm Daniel Benjamin. I'm the Director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. And I'm delighted to welcome today to this event with Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, who is an old friend and one of the people I think who has probably achieved a greater synthesis between science and policy in just about any one in the country. Certainly one of the very top practitioners in that rarefied zone. Kerri-Ann Jones served as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs from August 2009 through April 2014. And having been there for a large part of that time, I can tell you she was one of the absolutely essential part of Secretary Hillary Clinton's team. And in this, you know, it's one of-- actually, let me back and just say it is one of the undying facts of life in Washington that anyone at the assistant secretary, even the deputy assistant secretary, level and above, that a core part of one's identity is being able to say to everyone else that your portfolio has more issues, more impossible issues, more issues of presidential interest, secretarial interest than anyone else's. I know because I pulled this trick many times. But let me just tell you that in her position, Kerri-Ann led a bureau that are just bilateral, regional, and multilateral engagement on oceans environment science space and health, giving new meaning to the phrase ''She had the whole world in her hands''. Among the issues that she handled was sustainable fisheries, the Arctic, the Antarctic, climate change biodiversity, wildlife trafficking, environmental assessments, water toxic chemicals, health pandemic preparedness, international research partnerships, innovation, and space. [ Laughter ] That was before lunch. [ Laughter ] No, she had an unbelievable portfolio. And what is most amazing about this is that it's-- and I could go on, there's so many other issues she handled. But, you know, the average duration of political appointees turn in Washington is usually about 18 months. And Kerri-Ann did for about five years, which has to be some kind of record at least among, you know, people with-- what do we have? Twenty-three pairs of chromosomes and things like that. [ Inaudible Remark ] You're the longest serving? That's great. [ Inaudible Remark ] [ Laughter ] I was the longest serving in my job but I didn't make to five years. So, anyway, just to run through some of the other things. You know, influenza virus international partnerships, to deal with that, global innovation through science and technology. It goes on and on. And before she did this, she held a similar portfolio but with far fewer staff at the White House, which is where we came to meet each other during the Clinton administration. As associate director at the office of Science and Technology Policy for the second Clinton term, she was responsible for policy development, budget analysis, international coordination of security and international science and technology issues, nuclear nonproliferation. You had counter terrorism, too? [ Inaudible Remark ] Oh, OK. Emerge-- I thought it was because I worked on some speech that you had something to do. Anyway, and she was a senior director at the NSC, the National Security Council, for science and technology affairs. She-- you know, this is one of those resumes you could spend the hour and a half reciting, 'I won't do that. I will say that she's a woman of great wisdom and excellent taste during years that her party was out of power. She moved to Maine. And so, you know, her affinity with air climate here is noteworthy. She worked as the director for Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research in Maine and lives-- has a house in that beautiful town of Castine. She has a PhD from Yale in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and an undergraduate degree from Barnard. I found it particularly interesting, Kerri-Ann, that you are a-- your doctoral work was on the effect of stress. >> Right. >> And if you could tell us something about how to manage that while you're here, too, that would be wonderful. Anyway, I'm delighted that Kerri-Ann is here because of the question of how the world of science and the world of policy meet and interact and how we can make that interaction more effective is, I think, one of the really pressing ones for those of us who are in the university today. You only have to pick up a newspaper on any given day that seems that complex negotiations on climate are going on and on, and everyone and his uncle is somehow involved. There are I think really interesting questions of what we can do to make that whole area of human endeavor more effective but also how we make more effective the voices of scientists in the policy process, and that's something we're particularly interested in here at Dartmouth and at the Dickey Center in particular. She's brought her stamina and a remarkable capacity for dealing with stress to this week at Dartmouth which I hope is not really stressful. She's teaching five classes this week, meeting with innumerable members of the faculty, graduates, students, and undergrads, student groups and the like, and I'm really grateful that she is treating us another week at the state department. So, Kerri-Ann, thank you so much for coming and we look forward to hearing on what you have to say about the Negotiating for the Planets. >> Certainly. [ Applause ] Thank you. [ Applause ] Thank you Dan. Can everybody hear me? I hope I've turned this on correctly. Well, thank you. And I'm so glad to be here to have a chance to talk to you. And I've been here couple of days now and already I've had so many interesting conversations, and I'm sure there'll be a lot more. So I thank Dan for inviting me and the Dickey Center for hosting me. I also find out when I hear that list of subjects that was in the portfolio, that I was involved in for so long, I get very tired. But you have to realize that this was-- I had a staff-- there was a staff in this bureau of about 200 people. It was the foreign policy perspective looking at on all of these issues. And so, it was quite a good team that we had. The title of this talk is out there so we that can really sort of look at all the different things that are happening. And I think it's quite obvious to say, we all know that there are quite an array of environmental challenges we're facing. And what I found in the portfolio that I was leading at the state department, and that I want to talk to you about today, is that they're all connected. They're all connected because of the nature of environment itself. And they're all increasingly on the foreign policy agenda. And that's because they're not only environmental issues which by that nature would be on the agenda, but also because they're economic issues, they're trade issues, they're health issues, and they are security issues more and more. So I spent the last five years living in this space with these issues, with these very many different dimensions, but also which I'm going to talk about today, with the international engagements that go with those. So, what I want to do is take you through negotiating on a lot of different topics, because if I were just to talk about one topic and get into the gruesome details, I would probably bore you. It's not that they're not important but I would probably bore you. So what I want to do is give you this overview and show you a little bit how they're connected and look at what we were doing, and sort of how are we doing, how are we-- are we making any progress, is it getting any better. The challenges we face environmentally, as I mentioned, are huge and the way I often look at them is so where are they? Well, we have them in the air. We have them in the oceans that connect us, that provide food. They're on the land. They're in the animals and plant life. And of course, there is climate change. And that is the environmental issue of our age. It is in the news and it is one that we need to address, and we need to do more about. But beyond the actual problems that I just mentioned, you know, with air, and water, and land, there's also just the beauty of the planet. And that is under stress. And we need that. We need the open spaces and we need to be able to deal with that beauty and the awe that inspires in us. But it's under stress because of increasing population and expanding development, and that's just the facts. I mean, there's nothing controversial about that. Now, one thing I want to tell you upfront is that I am not a gloom and doom person. I could not be and do this job. It's just the nature of who I am in trying to handle this portfolio. I'm also trained as a scientist, as Dan said. And I came to this portfolio by a way of a number of positions that looked at how does science addressed tough international problems. And certainly, you know, environment, are tough international problems that need a lot of science. So, the details and the challenges of these environmental issues that we face are complicated, and the world is trying to step up to them. And I would say that we are making progress but-- and this not a trivial but it is very, very slow and it is very, very complicated. And I think it's important to think about why it's so complicated, because many groups would say, "Well, why don't we just do X?" or "Why don't we just do Y and fix this?" Well, it's complicated because the way that we look at the systems that we look at to address these problems are dynamic in and off themselves. And the way I think about it is we look at these problems through the lens of science. We look at it through the lens of development. We look at it through the lens of politics, both national and international. And so, each one of those is a dynamic process, and so it's not easy to sort of come to solutions. Clearly, our policies must be science-based. And I've been lucky over the course of my career to work in places where science is valued, it was difficult but we kept pushing on it. But the nature of science is that it always is adding new information. And so as we are trying to solve these problems, we are also getting real time information, and so it's very much a back-and-forth process. We're also working with a community of nations that covers the entire development spectrum. And this comes into play in every negotiation, every relationship we have. We're dealing with countries who were struggling, very poor, low education indices, low development indices-- Can you still hear me? I think I lost it. Low development-- And I think that this is something that we've take into consideration all the time. We're also looking at how countries want to develop. They want to keep developing because it's important to them to keep their country on a very strong economic and social development track. And also countries are politically changing all the time. We know that they're varying their each nation has to different extents, national debates going on about these environmental issues. Surely we have them in the US and we can certainly talk about those a little bit as we get further into this talk, but what do we do and how do we do it and who pays, and are we really being effective? We're trying to build international consensus, as countries are changing governments at regular intervals and the urgency of environmental problems whether we like it or not, often seem to pay out when viewed as-- when viewed against short-term economic concerns, possible health crisis, and in many countries outright conflict. And so, it's a difficult setting for these problems. What I want to say first about the overall negotiating process is it's not a singular process. It's not one negotiation for one topic, whatever that topic may be. But it's also a range of programs and process. And these are all different kinds. There're bilateral announcements that come out and you hear them when visits-- when leaders get together, their regional initiatives and of course, they're the ones that we often hear about the large multilateral negotiations. We also see countries developing national strategies and developing new programs. And each of these is important, because there's no single way that we're going to solve these. And we also need continuity. We need continuity from the national level to the international and back. And we need the information to be flowing back and forth from these problems, from these different efforts and informing how we go forward on these problems. Now, the US is very much engaged in, you know, what I call this tapestry or web of agreements and programs and initiatives and engagements. And I've lived in this space and it's an interesting space to live in. But what I want to mention is, so how are we viewed? How is the US viewed in the global environmental science and policy community? Well, for my perspective, we are still very much viewed as a leader. And we are viewed as an essential partner. Our environmental protection agency, the EPA, is enormously respected around the world, which I find ironic because in our own country, we don't necessarily value its worth but it's really very popular around the world and I think they would love to be able to model something like it. We also have in place a system of domestic laws that have been on the books for years and years that have shown our commitment to the environment. We have the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. We have the Lacey Act, which deals with wildlife conservation. We have the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which deals with fisheries and fish-- marine conservation. So we have a very strong domestic system. And it's been around for a long time. So, countries really respect us from that perspective. They also greatly admire our science and technology enterprise. They want to work with us. We were-- When I was in my position, we were constantly visited by scientists from around the world, administers of science who wanted to do more cooperation with the US. And I know, here at Dartmouth that many of your faculty are involved in international collaboration. And so we are a welcome partner when it comes to science and technology. Now, moving to our policy processes in our current national debates, my experience is that many countries study us very closely, and they tried to understand exactly how we do things to figure it out. They're impressed with our interagency processes that we try to bring to the table all the different expertise that we have, from our Department of Agriculture, to EPA, to the National Institutes of Health, to work on problems. They're also impressed with our efforts to bring in the NGO community, industry and to have this great debate. And they often asked us for advice on that. But they are, I would say, to put at my out my old league, kind of bewildered and dismayed by our budget processes and our policy processes. They often question the disconnects between our rhetoric and our hard work to negotiate agreements and often, our inability to join them. And I believe our contentious or intense and contentious national debates and prolonged budget processes do have a corrosive effect on our ability-- our credibility in the international arena. And that's not to detract from the importance of our national debates. I think the fact that we have these intense debates, that's sort of who we are, and it's important that everyone participates. But we seem to have gotten stuck with always debating and it's very hard for us to move forward. I spent a lot of time in my meetings with international partners, trying to explain how our system worked, and trying to explain that this is part of who we are. But the stuck part is a reality that we do seem to be going in circles in many cases. Another point I want to make is about these-- the large multilateral negotiations and how they're done and who actually does it. Because I think-- I don't know that that's well understood. I know many people here may understand or may have participated in different types of negotiations, but it really is a whole interagency process. The state department may lead a team but it involves representatives from across the US government who bring their technical expertise. So, when we were working on a mercury convention, which we'll talk more about, we have people for EPA and the Food and Drug Administration. We had a number of representatives from across the US government. And that's a negotiation in and of itself because each one of those agencies brings their interest and their constituents to the table to sort of develop the US position. But in terms of who these people are, they are civil servants, they are Foreign Service officers, they are political appointees, they are fellows, they are contractors, they are students. It is really the collection of whoever really can get the job done. And in terms of training, the teams that we were-- that I was very involved in, we had scientists, we had lawyers, we had a lot of international affairs experts. And it was a whole mixture of expertise to sort of move forward on these complicated areas. And these negotiations as you can tell from climate, take many years. Now, climate has taken an inordinate number of years, but typically, they do take multiple years. It doesn't often happen quickly. And what happens is that you bring to the table technical expertise, legal expertise because you are working in the area of perhaps, binding legal requirements of a country. And it has to be coherent with the rest of international-- of your laws and then look at international law. And it also-- you have to bring your policy objectives to the table. In the Obama administration, the term of art that was very popular was whole-of-government. And that's sort of a given. The whole-of-government goes forward to try to achieve it, but it was also, we use the term whole-of-society because we had the NGO community very, very much in touch with everything we did, and we would always consult with industry. Because if you're going to start regulating something, you're going to start affecting that industry's ability to use certain chemicals we're not to use them. So let me sort of start, having done that sort of general description, talking about a few of these specific issues. So let me start with air. It's clear that what we have done over the course of years in developing and taking the human race further, is to pollute the air with a lot of different interesting chemicals. And we learn about these through science, because I always think that we have to talk about the science. And the most-- the first really major step we took on this when we look at ozone-depleting substances. We-- A few scientists looked at this in the '70s and said, "We think chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs, are depleting ozone and we need ozone to protect us from UV radiation." The scientists did the work in the '70s and they got the Nobel Prize in 1995. And that was Mario Molino and Sherry Rowland. So science can come right in, takes a long time for the scientist to be recognized. The treaty regarding the control of CFCs took a while to come around as well. That was finally completed in 1987. So, the science was out there in the '70s, the treaty was-- it was completed in '87. And we, the United States joined at 1988. And the US Senate provided advice and consent with a vote of 83 to 0. Now, we haven't seen a lot of votes like that lately, but we have a history. We do have a history here of doing this. And the Montreal Protocol is now universal. In 2009, it was announced that 196 countries joined it. Have to be revised in 2002, because there was a new country, South Sudan. So now, 197 countries have signed on to this. And there's a point about this treaty, and the reason I start with it and it sounds old and it's been out there for years. But it's something that we worked on every week and every year, because treaties have to be living documents. They have to be able to be amended and adjusted based on science and based on the monitoring and based on what countries may need help to get things done, and so we were constantly revisiting this. We also-- There's also a particular revisiting I want to mention, which is very current. And that has to do with one of the chemicals that was put out there to be a substitute for CFCs, and that was hydrofluorocarbons, HFCs, great substitute. They're used in refrigerants. They are not ozone-depleting. Great news. Bad news, they have a very, very high global warming potential. So we were taking one chemical to fix a problem but we are causing-- playing into another problem. And they are very potent. They are 1,000 to 3,000 times more powerful than CO2 in terms of global warming potential. So now, the US and a couple of other countries have been proposing every year for the past four years that HFCs be scaled down under the Montreal Protocol. This is going very slowly. But we had some breakthroughs recently. In 2013, we were able to announce that the US would work with China to take on this problem. And then most recently, we were able to report that India was going to work with the US. So that's two bilateral arrangements that have been worked at, that may be able to make a big difference in this much bigger multilateral negotiation. And so, we'll try to get-- bring this up every year after year. And I think there is momentum gaining, but it's not happening fast enough. I think it will get there but it's really not happening fast enough. I also, turning away from that old treaty, I want to talk about a new convention, and one that I know many people here have in someway been involved with the work. And that is the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Now, many of you in the audience who have done research on mercury or in public health, know that mercury is a neurotoxin, it bioaccumulates. Children are very sensitive to it and it can very much affect their development, their attention spans and result in learning disability. It also has more severe effects in higher concentration. There are also other populations who are very seriously at risk of exposure to mercury. And those are people whose diets include a lot-- rely heavily on fish and shellfish and marine mammals. And particularly, indigenous groups are sensitive to this. And this is an issue in the Arctic. And I know the Institute of Arctic Studies has looked at the concentration of this toxin in the Arctic and looked at how it's traced and how it is affecting indigenous populations. Now, I'm making an aside here more just a historic interest point, and I don't know if a lot of you know it, probably you do. But treaties are named in odd ways. We always talk about the climate change treaty because we don't know what city it's going to end up being finally completed in. Typically, the final treaty takes the name of the city. And so, the convention for mercury was called the Minamata Convention, because Minamata is a city in Japan where there was horrific mercury pollution, environmental disaster. It's such a disaster that there is now a sort of disease known as the Minamata syndrome because so many lives were lost and so much damage was done to the population of this small town. A chemical company was dumping this stuff into the water, it accumulated in the fish that the people ate, and it was truly a syndrome that was studied and identified as related directly to this poisoning. And because of that, Japan was highly sensitive to wanting to make this happen and to doing everything they could, and they played a leadership role and they wanted to host it and the world community felt this is the right thing. This is to show what happens if you don't take care of these kinds of problems. Now, the US has been aware of mercury problems for a long time. I mean, we have regulations, domestic and state regulations on the books. We have advisories in different states in terms of fish, but we were not the only one who was involved in this problem and we couldn't solve it alone. And the reason we couldn't solve it alone is because science gave us a lot of information about mercury. Number one, it was the public health piece. But number two, we learned about mercury transport. And I know there were some work here done on mercury transport as well. The issue with mercury transport is it stays in the air and it travels in long distances. It concentrates in the Arctic as I mentioned. But also, we found that in the US, EPA has estimated that 70% of the mercury in the US comes from outside our borders. And so, a global arrangement was needed. So this convention was completed in 2013. It took four years to get it done. And it identifies the sources that need to be controlled. It puts out some targets to be hit. It talks about available technology that can be used. It tries to help some of the less well-known sources of mercury contaminate-- or mercury pollution for instance small-scale and Artisanal gold mining. A lot of poor countries, people actually use mercury to extract gold, and communities have a big mercury problem. But it has moved forward. And now, 128 countries in the EU have signed on to the agreement. We signed on to that agreement. The US signed on to it. And I must say, I personally signed on to it. And I also personally joined it, for the US. And that has to be one of the greatest honors of my tenure at the state department, to sort of join that for our country. And I was able to do that because advice and consent, senate advice and consent, was not needed for that agreement because of the nature of it. It was deemed an executive agreement and therefore, it is within the presidential authority to move that forward. One thing and as I've mentioned to several students, is that in the course of my job, I have learned a lot about the law and I didn't expect to when I first started this job. So, it's really an amazing thing to watch this go from beginning to end and for us to be able to join it, but it's not done. Now, there are post convention meetings. There are guidelines that have to be established. Countries have to get into the details of how they are actually going to meet these targets. So, that's look at air, but that's only one segment of the environment. The other-- one or the other pieces that Dan mentioned in my resume and of work, is we also dealt with biodiversity, all the flora and fauna of the planet. And the tremendous threat it's under in terms of the different developmental expansions and also the pollution that's out there. There are many treaties that address these. There is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the CITES treaty. There is the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. And just to mention another one, there is the Convention on Biodiversity. Now, the first two, CITES and Ramsar, the US signed and we joined these. So we participate. We go to meetings. We try to live up to the goals that have been set and all the processes that have been set. And it's an important work that we do that way. But we are not members of the Convention on Biodiversity. That convention has always been somewhat difficult one for the US. In 1993, President Clinton signed it but it was-- it didn't really gained momentum in terms of the Senate moving on it. It was also the time when the new biotech industry was coming out. And there were a lot of questions about genetic resources and what does this mean. And so, there's a sort of pulling away from that. Now, I don't think there is quite as much opposition to that treaty however, we are in a space where it's very difficult to move treaties through our Senate and get advice and consent And so we go to the meetings of the convention on biodiversity. And countries want us there because we bring a lot of technical expertise, but we have to work through somebody who's actually sitting at the table because we have to sit in the back of the room. That's a very difficult place to really try to have a lot of affect if you really want to make an impact on how a treaty evolves and how things get measured and what are the standards. It's not the only treaty we're not a member of, there's another one I'll just mention briefly which is the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is not only a conservation treaty but it's also a treaty that involves or extended continental shelf, mineral rights, and a whole number of things that are very important to our country. But beyond these agreements, there are a lot of other things we do in terms of conservation and biodiversity. We work on forests, we work in regions such as the Congo Basin or the coral initiative in East Asia. So, there's always an effort to push forward and do more. And there's just two things I want to mention in biodiversity that I think you may be interested in. One is good news and one is not so good news, actually it's bad news. The good news is that there is a new effort to bring science into biodiversity and ecosystem valuing. There's an effort called the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. It's called IPBES. It has to be the worst acronym ever but that's the way the system works, and that's what's going to be called. We worked very hard to help shape that organization. And what we did was the interagency process developed guidelines, those guidelines included some very basic things. Number one, this was not going to be a brand new research organization because we don't need one. There's a lot of good research going on across the academic world, and that should be brought to bear. Secondly, everything used to sort of inform this group should be based on peer review, research. And then the other two have to do with using the best technology available because these are large databases and we really have to stay up with the technology. And finally, that, it needs to be a very focused organization, because one of the big challenges in all of these things is to keep bureaucracy small. And it is not easy. They proliferate. They make more committees. They-- Everybody has to have a committee. So trying to keep focused in keeping your eye on the target, well, it sounds pretty trivial. It's a major undertaking when new organizations are being formed. The other development, as I said, that is not positive is the fact that we are facing a crisis in wildlife trafficking. I'm sure you've seen that in the news. There's been a significant increase in poaching and trading of wildlife products such as ivory or rhino horn or tiger skin. And it's very lucrative. It's one of the most lucrative types of transnational organized crime now, where it has revenues totaling over $10 billion a year. Over the past three years, it's estimated that 100,000 elephants have been killed. In some regions in Africa, there's been a decline of 60% of the elephant population in decades. And it's a multidimensional problem, because it is environmental. Certainly we do not want to see this iconic species disappear, but it's also economic for the communities that depend on this wildlife, as an attraction for tourism. It is also a health problem and it is a security problem, because we know some of this money is going to terrorist groups. So there's a lot going on in the world community on this. There's a mobilization under CITES, that treaty I mentioned that I'm sure many of you are familiar with, individual countries like the US are trying to do new strategies and new programs. The UN has put it high on the agenda. And the NGO community is really, really out there trying to make a difference in this, and engaging very much African leaders, because this is a very tough issue in Africa with a lot of the challenges that some of these countries face. This is down on the lists of priorities, but it's one of those that needs a lot of attention right now. Now, moving to oceans, again, it's not news that we're putting the oceans under a tremendous amount of stress with wants going on. To start with, overfishing is a huge problem and it's harmful. And there are harmful fishing practices that threaten a lot of different species out there. It's estimated that 29% of the world's fish stock are overexploited and that another 61 are under stress, 61% are under stress and need management. We are also seeing that the ocean is suffering from pollution and we hear about large collections of plastics floating out there in the ocean. And we also know the ocean is warming, and that has effects in so many different ways, obviously it's interaction with climate, a climate patterns, and also with how fish migrate and how that affects fishing industries. And we also have a problem that it's often referred to as new but I think it's been there for a while, it's just getting more noticed and it's also becoming more severe. And that is that the ocean is becoming more acidic. The pH of the ocean is becoming more acid as the CO2 is dissolving. And what this does is it will affect life in the ocean, because there's a feeling that the building of shells and metabolism could all be affected by this acidification. Now, there're some good news here, and that good news is that all of the sudden, at least this is from where I said in the state department. In the last three years or so, there's been this awakening about the oceans that the problems that we have been focusing on in air traditionally and some of the wildlife on land is like, "Wait. What is happening in the oceans?" And there had been more and more things done. There had been a lot of international efforts, the state department hosted a very large conference in this past June where many world leaders came to it and industries, and they made a lot of pledges. And right now, I know that my colleagues back in the state department because this is also another challenge in many of these areas. Pledges are great but they have to be carried out. And so there's a real followthrough. And every pledge that you hear, somebody has to pay attention that it really gets done, so they are trying to pay attention to that. The US also announced recently that it's going to greatly expand one of its marine protected areas in the Central Pacific. And so, there are good things happening. The other good thing that has happened and I don't know if many of you had noticed it, but last April, very quietly, the Senate provided advice and consent to four, four fish treaties. And this was-- these were the first environmental treaties that have come through in a very long time. And what these addressed, three of them were addressed specific regional approaches to conservation and fishing practices in the Pacific. I think it was the North Pacific and the South Pacific, and then the Northwest Atlantic. And then the fourth treaty, looked at measures that port cities need to take, so. It's called the Port City State Measures. So in other words, if you're a port and you're landing fish, you need to do certain things to make sure that those are not a illegal or unregulated or pirated, so that you're really cutting down on this illegal fishing or piracy as some people call it. So that's good news. And it's very interesting that these treaties went through. It was bipartisan and it was unanimous. And so, we can talk about this dichotomy that we see between some things getting through and some things it doesn't look like they'll ever get through because they're so controversial, or perhaps they're just so complex that they need to be looked at differently. Now, I want to turn to climate change. One cannot talk about environment without talking seriously about climate change. And all of those topics that I just mentioned are tied to climate change. The oceans as I mentioned, the warming and the acidification, the air, the HFCs, they all are connected. And so, we have negotiations on these individual issues and then we have the major negotiation that's going on in onto the UN for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Now, there's a big meeting coming u. I'm sure you've been following this in Paris in 2015, where we all anticipate that there will be an agreement, that will address both the reduction or the mitigation of greenhouse gasses as well as look at the adaptation, how do we react to the changes that are already coming toward us. Each year-- And the team that did this negotiation was in my bureau. Each year, we send a large team to negotiate. And there are multiple committees and multiple activities and they are political, legal, and technical. And in preparation for that annual meeting which is called the Conference of the Parties or the COP, there are meetings all year long. So, this is a tremendous amount of work for any country, and it's not-- and I'm not saying that because I think we shouldn't do it. I'm saying it because it is a reality that to really engage in these, we have to be out there with the right people and very much present at all the important meetings. So, this COP coming up in Paris is COP 21, which means that we've had 21 of these before, where we have not come to a convention but I think an agreement on the convention. But I think there is a lot of optimism this time. There's a lot of optimism because there's more pressure, there's more visibility. There has been some real progress, I think, on some of the issues. And let me talk just very briefly about the issues, because the issues that are on the table now and we're going to have to think about how they're solved in Paris, have been on the table for a very long time. They can be stated very simply as questions and that's how I state them, but underneath each of these, they are flushed with details, with old problems, with North-South debates, with all kinds of things. So if you state these questions simply, what they are is how much will each country reduce its greenhouse gasses? Pretty straightforward. Second is, how will these reductions be measured, reported, and verified? Also pretty straightforward. The third one is how will countries prepare for the current and future impact of climate change, adaptation. And the last one is what funds and technology will be available to assist developing countries? Now when you think about it, those are all pretty-- if you're worried about a problem, first of all, you have to stop what's bad, you have to make sure you've stopped what's bad, you have to fix what damage you've done, and you have to pay for it or get something that's going to make it work. That's what those are. But underneath that, is a whole range of development issues as to who pays for what, who is to blame, how is it monitored, how is the data collected, who does the measuring? It just becomes very much churning and forth with a lot of difficult issues. But as I said, there's been progress. In Lima just recently, countries agreed that they're going to submit information that will serve as the framework for the Paris agreement, and the last few years has been a technology mechanism that's been set up that's supposed to be helpful in how to move technology out. There is a new fund that was established in terms of financing some of these. So there are-- there was the beginning of the architecture of addressing all of these. But, I think, we all have to realize whatever agreement that comes out of this, there's going to be a compromise. And so, it depends on where you sit, who you are, what industry you're interested in, what country you're in whether or not you love it or hate it. But I don't think there will be-- I think there'll be a lot of presses to what's wrong with this agreement when it comes out, because that's just the nature of how these agreements are, there are compromises. But it's very important to realize. As I said before, when I start in general about this world that we're in, it's not about one agreement. This multilateral agreement is very important, but there are many other things being done many, many other things being done. And we need all of those. There are different forms being set up in different projects and different partnerships, and different investments. A few years ago, the US initiated a group called the Major Economies Forum, where the 17 largest emitting countries get together and try to talk about how they're going to handle this problem. They're now looking at initiative to put money in to sort of looking at some of the big questions out there. This is good. There's also a group called the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which is looking at not greenhouse gasses but the short-lived climate forcers, things like black ash and methane, which may be much easier to get out of the atmosphere but could have a large impact on what's happening with climate warming. So, I think, you know, to summarize the piece on climate, we're in a good place. We're in a better place than we've every been. Is it an easy place? No. Are we sure we know what's going to be in that agreement? No, but I think we should be cautiously optimistic, which is the term I've been using some of the classes. But it's going to be something that we're going to have to work on no matter what. It's going to be a long term effort. And I think we have to recognize that and move on, because no one solution is out there that's going to make it better, make it go away. So let me begin to close here and summarize with just a few points. First of all, as I started out, which I think all of you are quite-- how can I put it-- familiar with or deal with it everyday. We are facing an enormous number of environmental challenges that's just there. And climate changes top on the lists, not only is it related to the others but it makes it worst or they make it worst, and so there's a convergence that we have to begin to understand. From my perspective, we are taking some positive steps. And one positive is that increasingly, the world is linking science to policy. Now, this is not easy to do for many reasons but it is slowly happening. From my perspective, it would be much easier if the scientific process and risks analysis was better understood. It would be easier if technical discussions were much more easily integrated into policy and politics. Now, this raises questions of science literacy and science education, which I could also talk about for a long time. But it's a major issue for our country. And the problems we face are increasingly complicated, and we need to be able to understand them and we need our politicians and our leaders to be able to have these conversations. Another positive is that increasingly we're seeing all kinds of partnerships emerging. We're not looking for one solution. And that's a good thing, because you cannot put all of your eggs in one basket on this complicated problems that involve international collaborations, everything changes. So we need a whole collection of things. In climate we're seeing, as I mentioned, some of those examples of major economies form. Some people beginning to call those plurinational activities, because it's not everybody but it's some. It's a group of countries who can be very influential, and they want to make things happen not because they are saying that the multilateral, the large multilateral should not happen or is not going to bring a benefit but they also know that that takes time, 197 countries coming to agreement does not get to a quick conclusion. So, it's good to have all of these efforts because they interact and they put pressure on each other. So I think that's a very good development, because it makes them both try to push for progress. And beyond those partnerships, there are also partnerships with industry and government and universities. There are all kinds of flourishing partnerships. And this is god news-- very good news. But I also have a caveat here, and this is more from personal experience. I think we need a little more selectivity and focus, because we have to have enough noise in the system to go forward but we have to have enough noise in the system to also make a signal. So I think we have to sort of look at these and we have to think about one of the challenges is that in our political system and in our media, everybody want something new all the time. And so, what is the announcement today? And everyone of those announcements are programs or projects, whether it's your community or your university or your agency in Washington, every one of those requires somebody to work on it, afterwards it requires human resources, financial resources, monitoring, we need to be able to look at things that are working and say great let's do more or back away from them. We need to get much more nimble and agile in terms of trying things in moving away. And I know this is, again, it's very straightforward, it's really hard to do. I have personally tried to stop, I think, two large multilateral efforts. And I have the bruises to show for it. We slowed down one but people get so vested in something that they just want to keep going at it. But it's like if it's not working, let's move the resources some place else. So we have to really-- we have to really think about this. And let me just mention what I think are out there as two really large challenges, now that I have mentioned some of the positive things, just let me mention a couple of the big challenges. I really see two of them. And one is related to rate constants and the other is related to ideology. And what I see is that the policy process at the national and international level, moves very, very, very slowly, painfully, so. And typically, the processes-- policy processes are built that way for a reason. They should be deliberative. They should be participatory, no sudden changes, no jerking around. But our ability at the national and international level to make fundamental changes in our energy profiles, in our development choices, and in our investment choices, that's moving at a much slower rate than the environmental changes that we are causing. And so we need to pay attention to this, and we need to think about how we can change our systems in some way. And it's really a challenge of learning how to built trust, so processes can go forward a little more easily. In the course of my career, I have seen an enormous growth of advocacy and special interest groups getting narrower and narrower and narrower, as to what topic they're trying to make, you know, a point about and to push ahead. And this is very important. They're really important to have all those voices out there. But I think we also have to think about how do we begin to build coalitions around topics? Some of this is happening. We're seeing this internationally with those groups of nations who are coming together. We also see in some of the NGO communities, we need to do more of this because it's a challenge of learning how to compromise, because it's not, as I've said in the couple of classes, it's not black or white. There's a middle ground we have to find to go forward here. It's also a challenge of maintaining political will which, again, is something that said very easily but is really quite difficult with the agenda that's out there to sort of stay focused on something. The second large challenge is ideology. We often find ourselves. And I say, we-- let me say, I often find myself and my colleagues at the state department who work on this issue in discussions where we hit up against ideas that are presented as absolutes. For example, national sovereignty is weakened by our joining any international agreement. Or, that somehow, there is a specific defined amount of science that we need to tell us that climate change is really happening. Or, and this is the international version of kind of hitting a wall, that once a country is a developing country, it is always a developing country. Now, you know, dealing with ideology is a very difficult thing to do, because it is presented with such certainty that there is a real temptation to blast right back with certainty. And what I find is this usually perpetuates a very nonproductive loop, because all you keep doing is saying the same thing to each other. We must really continue to take on these ideas with engagement at all levels, in neighborhoods, across the aisle in Congress and around the world. And I think, with education and objective data to better understand the complexity of the challenges we face, those dialogues may be more productive. But we also must take it on this discussion of these ideas that are difficult with something else that I just want to put out there. We must take them on with enormous fortitude, because we have to keep at this for the long run and it is not fast process. It is a chipping away process. So with that, let me thank you for your attention. And I'm happy to take any of your questions. [ Applause ] >> Fortitude is a very good place to break. I just wanted to mention one thing that I-- or two things that I didn't in the beginning. First is cards, if they have been already been handed out, it will be handed out. We're doing some survey work on our audience. So I hope that you will take a moment to fill those out at the end. The other, well, which I've neglected to mention at the outset which is another-- a testament to Kerri-Ann's fortitude, is let me want to ask a question or two about this, is that one of her very favorite issues which she was stuck with for five years was Keystone. So-- >> As in the pipeline. >> And with that, I'll give you back to Kerri-Ann. >> Thank you. Thank you for that Dan. [ Laughter ] Yes, over here. >> I want to ask why the US is not a member of the Biodiversity? Sorry. >> The Biodiversity Convention. >> Yeah, that the US isn't a member of the-- >> Right. >> -- Biodiversity Convention. And I wondered what that convention says very briefly and why we're not signed on to it. >> OK. It talks about a whole range of species, and what we should be doing to protect them. It talks about targets in terms of setting aside conservation areas on land and marine protected areas. And those were the easy parts. It also talks a little bit about access to genetic resources. And that has always been the sticking point, you know, who owns what genetic resources. And that has always been a bit of a North-South discussion. I mean, we with our biotechnology industry always kind of think we can just go in and take things and then we extract the genes. And there is much more to it than that. So I think when that came up, there's been a lot of work done on this and it's been clarified a lot. And I think the industries are not so adamantly against it. I think they have been supportive, more and more supportive. But, as that treaty got into a better place, more treaties got on the list that we needed to get through the Senate. So it's a question of where is it in terms of priority and then sorting out some of the other issues. There's also been a new protocol just recently negotiated on that called the Nagoya Protocol, which is specifically targeted at access and benefit-sharing. It has to do with, if you take something out of a country and you get some benefit from it, how does that country get the benefit back? And that brings a lot of nervousness into US industry as each country is going to have its own system. It's also made some researchers very nervous in terms of getting a permit to go in and then do research and not anything commercial. So there's a lot of static around this treaty. Back here. >> Recently in a conversation with a scientist friend, we were talking about peer reviewed science. >> Yes. >> And, I suggest that what we really need is a constitutional amendment that says all legislative action will be based on peer reviewed science. And my friend said, "You know, this really won't work because it's just too easy for opposition to find some new review that-- in which you can publish the views of the opposition with opposition peers whom they carefully groomed." And I just wondered what your thought was on that? >> Well, it's interesting. I was at the National Science Foundation for a while. And the term peer review hasn't some places of all to merit review. And there's a whole debate in the science community about what's the best term of-- or to use there. But I think that it does sort of take on different meanings in different places. And so, I don't know that having that as a piece of legislation to support all other legislation would move or how it would be interpreted. I think it's something that we have to call any policy that we're putting forward. We have to call that question of where is the science on it. But the-- my point about the science literacy is once we call that question, we have to have people who understands the science that they're being told at some level. But I think it would be very difficult to pass a law like that and very difficult to then somehow make sure that it was actually not changing the terminology in some way that we just become a bigger mess. >> I was thinking of ALEC. >> Right. >> And how that place into-- >> Right. >> -- legislature's views. >> Next, any other-- right here. >> So you talked a lot-- >> There's a coming mike. >> You talked a lot about negotiation between governments and organizations, NGOs. I'm also interested in hearing how the role of corporations have evolved-- >> Sure. >> -- over time in this negotiation process. On the one hand, you have, you know, companies that caused a lot of pollution. On the other, you have corporations that take a lot of corporate social responsibility. >> Right. >> And recently, there's also been new financial instrument such as Green Bond, a carbon emission tax that, you know, have increased ways which corporations can participate in a more positive no. So, could you just kind of-- >> Sure, sure. >> -- talk more about that. >> I mean, you've said a lot of it. I mean, there's just a range of corporate behavior. And what we would try to do whenever we're negotiating, there's this effort to work with all stakeholders. So usually, there's meetings with industry or industry associations who will come in. That's done before the climate negotiations. It was done before the mercury negotiations. And it gets very specific depending on the industries. So some industries will come in and with willingness to work towards alternatives, and others will come in and say, "We can't possibly shift away from X, Y or Z. In the Montreal Protocol, there is actually room in there for countries requesting exemptions for certain chemicals, so that it gives industry time. So there is this participation with industry. And on the corporate social responsibility, I think that is very much increasing where you see corporations participating in a number of projects to work on the environment. And the one I was most involved with was lot of companies working on water trying to do more. But it has this whole-- the landscape of companies cover so many different behaviors and options that, you know, it's just that you have all different kinds of players. Some are adamantly against, some participate, and then some actually try to bring solutions to the table. But we do very much try to work with industry. One of the things that's tricky is, how do you, you know, meet with all of them. And so, that's why associations begin to become important because you can't just be going to the same ones all the time because that's unequal treatment. And so, it's something that again has to be thought through and managed in terms of access and often no beyond delegations, too. When we went to Rio recently, a couple of years ago, we had some industry members on that team. Over here. >> Thanks for your part in the Minamata treaty. I'm one of the scientists that's been lucky enough to be participating-- >> Great. >> -- in some of that. But, one of the things I found when I went to the last negotiating conference, I-- it was just really interesting to me because I turn to people around me and said, "Why now? We as scientists have known about mercury and from-- >> Right. >> -- associating with this for 20 plus years." >> Right. >> And, the person I asked that who said, "It's because Obama is president." >> Well-- >> And so, that's one part of my question is that how much does it take a particular political figure? >> Right. >> And then the second, was that because the technology for mercury controls-- >> Sure. >> -- emissions has now gotten to be affordable. >> Right. >> And so, that was another case. >> Right, right. >> So, I'm thinking about that in terms of the climate treaty. I'm wondering, is-- do we need those things too? >> Well, I think, we certainly need political will which is one of the points I sort of ended with. And if you've been involved with the Mercury Convention, you know that the proposal to have such an international convention was out there for a few years. And the US said, "No, we don't want this. We don't want this. We don't want this. We don't want this. We don't want to have to negotiate anything. We have our laws in place." But when President Obama won, he changed that policy. So, you do have to, in some cases, have that kind of leadership. We are still sometimes in a place where we don't want a treaty. So, I'm not trying to say that this is-- there are times, we don't say yes to every treaty, but these seem like a very important treaty and he wanted it. So first of all, that turned it around. Second, your point is very good that we also-- the technology has advanced. And so, that really made the case with a lot of other country's willingness in the negotiations because they felt emission levels could be set that they could reach, right? So that was a second thing. The other thing for the US and why we were able to not only sign it but joined it, was because we did not have to do any domestic legislation to be in compliance with that agreement, OK? Because that also is always another hurdle, because there's a couple of treaties out there related to persistent organic chemicals. And there is one related to prior and formed a consent for moving different kinds of toxins across borders. They've been stuck. And one of the reasons they've been stuck is because they need some domestic legislation for us to be in compliance. And we've been unable to move that domestic legislation. It's EPA legislation. And, you know, sometimes, EPA's legislation is not well-met on the hill. And so, there are these multiple pieces that have to fall into place. And so, it's very-- it's a kind of dynamic process both political and technical. Other questions? Oh, over here. >> I really appreciate your optimism. >> Thank you. >> However-- >> I'm maybe foolish but I have it. >> -- it seems to me that there's a big cog in the wheel of progress. And that's centers around how money influences decisions in our congress. And how do you-- from your perspective, how do you see solving that problem because we're being choked to death by inactivity-- >> Right. >> -- as far as climate is concerned. >> Right. Well, you know, that question is outside of my former job. But I have a personal opinion on this. My personal opinion is more people have to vote. It's to me and I've said this to a couple of students, you know, I've heard people say, "Well, this is our congress so, you know, the Congress is terrible." I said, "Well, it's our congress. Somebody is electing people. Somebody is voting for these people." I mean, they're elected. You know, the less turnout that we had was terrible. It was embarrassing. I mean, I go to countries around the world who just surpass us in turnout. And where we then say, we're the best democracy. Wow, right? So, we have to get the vote out. We have to get people elected who are not going to be that influence. Now, that's a problem. And we also have to-- I mean, I'm kind of an education person, you know, down to my roots. It's, you know, if somebody has enough money to do a lot of ads, why should that change everything so much? I mean, why should that change how people vote if you really know the issues? Because we know how bad those ads are. I mean, I look at those ads and I, you know, some of them, they're just garbage. I mean, they're not true. But, I think that, we don't have a population that really engages politically or wants to be really well informed about some of these issues. Now, to really get at the cog, we have to change that legislation about who can contribute, why don't we have to turn that back. But I don't think these other elements were part of solving that problem because somebody is electing these people. And, you know, I think that this last election is-- was very interesting. I don't remember hearing environment mentioned a lot in any of these races. And so, if there was a concern about it and if voters were really complaining to people, maybe it would show up more. I think we need to think about how we do that. And I think, you know, I was talking to one of the post docs earlier, it's about outreach to the community. It's about talking to the people who have very different opinions from what you have. And I think that's difficult but I think that's sort of where we are. It's a very basic grassroots change I think we have to work on. There was one over here. Yes? >> I'm interested in your point about how they're-- if we have too many resources going to things that aren't working and that we need to nimble and move away from that. And I'm wondering if you can give some examples of things that you've seen in your time or that are happening currently that you think we should be diverting our attention away from that we're putting too many financial or human resources into now. >> There was a-- I can give you one example that I was involved in which was the Commission on Sustainable Development. I don't know if any of you know it. It was a commission that came out of, I think, one of the Rio meeting or maybe the second meeting in that chain. And it was nations getting together, and they were working on topics. And it was supposed to be sort of a dynamic commission. And in my first few years at the state department, the only thing I saw about it was a whole team would go to New York and they're be totally deadlocked negotiating something that nobody was really following. Not that they weren't in some ways important, but they were being negotiated at other places. They were deadlocked. And the feeling was, why are we doing this? Why are we doing this? Because it's expensive to send a delegation. It's expensive to do the preparatory meetings. We also, in many of the developed countries, helped pay for the developing countries to attend somebody's meeting. So there's a lot of cost. And so, there was an effort to redesign that. And I think there's a new-- there's a different approach to dealing with sustainable development that has come out some of the last meetings. But I think they're going to have one more meeting. And I was like, "So why do we need this last meeting?" And then, it was like, "OK, this-- I've taken this as far as I can." But that's the kind of thing where you get into a process and either, there may be a process that overcomes it or it may just get so bugged down that you have to say, "Maybe we should do this differently." But it's a very hard thing to do because people get, as I said, they get vested in it. It's becomes part of their identity. It becomes of their workload. And it just, you have to change them. Programmatically, I mean, I was involved in something years ago with NSF where there was this effort to give lots of little bits of money at an international activities, right? And, I guess, I had spent sometime in some universities. And I thought, you know, "Why don't we do bigger grants? Why don't we stop these small grants and give out bigger grants?" And I wasn't going to change-- I was a program, head of a program office, I wasn't going to change the budget. I was going to change how the money went out. So it wasn't cutting but I was affecting some individual program officers. That took a long time to make that. We made it. We finally made it but it took a long time to make that change. And so, I think we have to get in terms of dealing with these big environmental problems a little bit more nimble because we have technology coming along at a rapid pace. And we should be able to try things and move it and collect data and assess things. But often, I think we are all very excited with the brand new thing that can be announced. And then, somebody moves away and starts some other brand new thing. And there's a team here who's going to have to carry this workload to really follow through on what they're doing. So, it's-- I think it's, you know, it's a real issue. It's in the weeds but I think it's something that affects our resource space and our ability to cover a lot of things. Yes? >> During your tenure working-- during your tenure, what was your favorite part for a job? And what was-- what do you consider to be maybe the biggest challenge that you had? >> OK. Well, you know, I tried to keep my job in little categories because there were some things that I really hated. And I wanted to name them. [ Laughter ] I would say that I really enjoyed the part of my job that brought the science into all the different pieces of the portfolio, because it was something-- in a bureaucracy, things tend to get stovepiped. I mean, universities know that about department through disciplines. And that's very true in government, you know. And so, it was very nice. I enjoyed trying to get the public-- the health people to talk to the environment people or the oceans people to talk to the health people, you know. I enjoyed that sort of cross-fertilization. The issues-- I liked most of the issues. I mean, most of the issues were important. You could make progress. They were important to both secretaries I work for because I did stay on and work for year with Secretary Kerry. They were-- So they-- that when you're in Washington and if you have issues that everybody wants to make progress on, that is a wonderful thing. And so, that was a very positive thing. Some of the negative things were and I think, you probably get the sense of this. The bureaucracy does wear you down. I mean, I think as Dan was saying, you work really, really long hours. You don't see your family quite as much as you would like to. And when you do see them, you're usually not in a good mood. And so, I think the personal cause is something that a lot of people don't get a sense of. The Keystone Pipeline which I'll mention was a very-- is a very challenging issue. And it was a very challenging issue for the state department to have. And, you know, the reason we have it as an executive order and there's a whole history there. But, you know, it was a great portfolio. I mean, I was a very lucky person to have that job. And I learned a tremendous amount from it. So-- And there's a great team there who were still working on it. So, I hope, they continue to be able to do a lot of things. That's tough. Anything else I can answer for you? Oh, one more. >> I was very curious about-- can you explain a little more this concept of equal treatment of different constituencies and stakeholders? I have some inclined appreciation for a challenge that would be for somebody in the position that you were in, having attended some treaty negotiations around the Cartagena Protocol-- >> Right, sure. >> -- on Biosafety. And when I think about the climate change issue, it seems like one of the really key stakeholders is children and future generations. >> Right. >> And so, I just wonder, what could somebody in the position you were in do to actually elevate explicit representation of them, especially if there are also people such as industry leaders being parts of delegations. And I recognized that, you know, there are many different perspectives in industry and that some of them are actually seriously engaging in trying to come up with a solution. But at the same time, we realized that, you know, the elephant in the room is that we have to figure out actually how to really move away from needing to use fossil fuels at all. And that is clearly a threat to some of the most successful businesses in our society. So, it seems like a really big challenge, is, well then, how do we really actually try to really honor the idea of equal treatment and have those unheard voices also be represented. Perhaps, even at the level of delegations. How does somebody like you think about that and what kind of leeway in the job you had which you have to actually make that become more explicit. >> Well, I think the example that comes to mind is when we were preparing for the Rio+20 meeting which was, you know, the 20th anniversary of the Earth, the first Earth conference. And we very much try to involve the next generation through programs, through activities. The US had a pavilion, had like the center because now, a lot of these negotiations and this is true of many negotiations. You have the mainstream very formal negotiation. And then you have all the side activity going on. And the side activity is important. And so, we had a lot of, I think, we had a youth science group there. And we had other groups to try to come in and speak. And so, that's sort of how we engage them. But on the delegation, I am trying to think if we ever had students. And I'm not sure that we did. I mean, we sort of had students who may be interns at the department at that time but we hadn't really, I think, had a student on that delegation team. Some of it is because when you get down to counting the actual delegation team, you sometimes have to have people who have to be able to go into the chair. Not the main chair but some chair at the table. And so, that's a little bit harder. I think there is an effort to try to make sure that everyone who is affected is somehow involved either through their groups or involved in some of this kind of side events that happen. It's not a great answer to your question in terms of are they there at the table. And I would say no. And from a different perspective, we worked hard over the last few years to have women involved much more in the climate negotiations. Not just-- I mean, the US often have women on a delegation but around the world. And that it was felt that women were the ones who were going to deal with adaptation to a large extent. I mean, they are the ones who are going to make a lot of changes and get things done. I'm biased. And so, I think that there was a sense that they needed to be more involved. And we try to actually do that programmatically in a number of different ways. But we have to think more about that question that you raised with children. Yeah? [ Inaudible Remark ] Yeah, throw him around. >> So you've given us a great view from the front lines and the diplomacy. And now, I'm going to take you out of your comfort zone and then ask you, you know, the diplomacy is one source of public despair that whoever get the agreements in the-- that we need, but the other is the domestic political-- >> Right. >> -- situation. You, I'm sure, spent an enormous amount of time talking to people up on the hill about various agreements. And I'm curious, you know, the first big climate agreement, I think, was preemptively killed 99 to 0 or something like that in the Senate. Is there ever going to be an agreement that the US will sign on to that is going to get the advice and consent of the United States Senate? >> Right. >> I mean, the political landscape has changed tremendously-- >> Right. >> -- but maybe not tremendously enough? >> Well, I think first of all, the first-- the actual UN framework convention on climate, we signed on to and we joined. That's why we are at the table in all these caps. But that was the shell. That was, you know, let's do good things. This is a problem. Let's make things happen. The question you raised is a really hard one. And the answer really is it depends on the nature of what comes out of this negotiation. There are a lot of interests, concerned about the US might sign on to in terms of legally binding agreement. Will this be legally binding? Will this be voluntary? How will it all play out? And all of these plays into then what is the nature of the agreement that goes forward. And will the Senate accept or provide their advice and consent so the president can ratify it. I think it's going to be very difficult. I think that there is hope that this may be able to be some sort of flexible, creative document. But it's a real challenge because you have all these countries sitting around there. You have the way it's been done before. And, you know, there's an effort to try to break new ground. So I don't know. I don't have an answer. I don't see right now the Senate-- where the Senate is comprised, the way the Senate is talking about the climate, that they would sort of vote on this. And, you know, they've put out there that they're not happy with a lot of things. Now, they did a while ago, one of the big problems that came out of Kyoto, was that there were these two classes of countries, you know, classes that had to follow things and classes that really didn't, the developed versus the developing. And that's been one of the biggest issues that has been worked on year after year after year. And that has really moved along. And it's not that the language now doesn't recognize that there is different levels of development and different level of capacities, but it's really each country needs to work from where they are. So there hasn't-- there's an effort to try to do a way with this bright line between developed and developing. And so there's been motion on that. Is it completely solved? No, because this is again, in terms of the ideology I was mentioning, this is an idealogy that's in international community that we're still working on. But I don't-- I think it's going to be tough. I think it would be very tough to get something through the Senate, but at the same time, I don't know what the nature of the final agreement would look like. And maybe, there is some way that will be something very different. Fingers crossed. But everything else still has to keep going forward. All the other initiatives and all the other efforts to turn things back, because this treaty, your convention or whatever it is, it's not going to solve the problem. It's one step in all of the different things that have to be done to change the behavior of many, many countries. Anything else before-- >> Give her a break. [ Laughter ] [ Applause ] >> OK. Well, we've certainly seen what stamina is about. And I want to thank you all, again, for coming. And above all, I want to thank Kerri-Ann for a fantastic presentation that takes us into a world pretty far moved from most of us but vitally important.



The subcommittee’s responsibilities include general oversight responsibility for U.S. multilateral international development policy, multilateral foreign assistance, and all U.S. mandatory and voluntary contributions to international organizations and relationship with such entities, including the U.N. and its affiliated agencies. The subcommittee’s responsibilities also include matters related to international monetary policy, including U.S. participation in international financial institutions and trade organizations, U.S. foreign economic policy, including export enhancement and trade promotion, international investment, international trade, protection of intellectual property, and technology transfer, as well as international energy policy and environmental policy, including matters related to the oceans and the Arctic.


116th Congress

Majority Minority
Ex officio

115th Congress

Majority Minority
Ex officio

See also

External links

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