Our bipartisan House Congressional delegation arrived in Copenhagen this morning on the heels of Secretary of State Clinton's announcement that the U.S. will contribute to an international fund of $100 billion a year by the end of the next decade to assist developing countries' efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses. The announcement and arrival of the 20-member bipartisan Congressional delegation seemed to kick start discussions of at least assembling a framework of agreed-upon objectives for ratification early in 2010.
This afternoon, we met with a delegation from India and told them that no agreement can occur without transparency in reporting progress by the developing world. This is one of the outstanding sticking points of the conference. In my view, without the ability to verify, what good is an agreement?
The five Congresswomen in the delegation, including Speaker Pelosi, participated in a fascinating roundtable on the role of women in climate change. Speakers included the leader of the Philippine Senate, a World Bank official, and the Prime Minister of Finland. They all made the point that women are the first to experience the effects of climate change, because they bear the brunt of hurricanes, mudslides and other disasters. They can also be effective in reversing the effects, if they have the resources. The World Bank officer spoke about when she went to a small village and the women were all eager to know how they could get pollution credits!
We finished the evening at the new American ambassador's residence at a reception with the Danish Parliament. The surprise guest was former Vice President Al Gore, who is treated like a rock star here. He told me he hopes President Obama can at least help flesh out some basic agreements during his brief time here tomorrow.
What's up tomorrow: meetings with delegations from the EU and Asia and speeches by world leaders, including President Obama.
U.S. Rep. DeGette is attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark (COP 15), as part of the official bipartisan Congressional delegation.