Ed. Note: See previous installments from Interior Secretary Salazar, EPA Administrator Jackson and Assistant Secretary of Energy Sandalow, Secretary of Commerce Locke, Secretary of Energy Chu, and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack.
With the President's arrival, a quick look back at what's been going on. Secretary of State Clinton arrived in Copenhagen late, late Wednesday night and delivered remarks to hundreds of press members. The Secretary underscored the historic progress President Obama has made in an effort to build a clean energy economy and prosperity for the future. She noted that while real difficulties remain in these final negotiating days, the resolve of the United States to come to the table and produce a strong global outcome has never been more determined. .
Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack announced the U.S. partnership with Australia, France, Japan, Norway and United Kingdom to contribute a combined $3.5 billion in the context of an ambitious and comprehensive outcome in Copenhagen, as initial public finance towards slowing, halting and eventually reversing deforestation in developing countries. This funding will help facilitate immediate actions in REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) for the years 2010-2012.
Yesterday was the last official keynote event at the U.S. Center in Copenhagen, one day ahead of the President's arrival in town. Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality headlined the event and made news announcing a strategy to reduce black carbon emissions affecting the Arctic. Black carbon is essentially soot, which settles on white snows in the Arctic making the pole a little darker and thus diminishing its overall ability to reflect sunlight back into space. Keeping snow in the Arctic unpolluted is a near term mitigation effort to keep global temperatures down.
Chair Sutley also talked about clean energy jobs and the great potential we have to create new American jobs with comprehensive energy reform and strategies in efficiency and retrofitting. Demonstrating the global interest in this conference, questions were taken via satellite and e-mail from Germany, Gambia and Austria.
Stay tuned for an update from the U.S. Center with NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco.
Jack Levine is with the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change