Lima, Peru—The ministerial segment of the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP-20) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) opens today. Secretary of State John Kerry is reportedly flying down to join the negotiations as way to signal to the world how seriously the Obama administration takes the threat of man-made global warming. The New York Times reports:
Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive on Thursday to strongly urge negotiators to reach a deal, according to sources familiar with Mr. Kerry's plans but unauthorized to speak to the media. Typically, the secretary of state would not join diplomatic negotiations at this level, but Mr. Kerry has made climate change a priority of his tenure….
Negotiators are hoping to produce a draft of a [climate] deal by the end of the conference on Friday or Saturday, with the expectation that world leaders will sign on to the final plan next year in Paris. President Obama, using his executive authority, has already pushed through a set of climate change regulations in the United States.
This would be the first time that such a high-level American official has attended a COP since the failed United Nations conference in Copenhagen back in 2009.
I will be exploring in a later dispatch from the conference how the Obama administration hopes to avoid submitting whatever deal is reached in Paris next year to the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.