Live At State With Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern on COP21 in Paris

Remarks
Todd D. Stern
Special Envoy for Climate Change 
Washington, DC
November 24, 2015


Also available in FrenchPortuguese, and Spanish.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Welcome to LiveAtState, the State Department’s interactive online video platform for engaging with international media. I’m your host, Michael Zeltakalns. I’m delighted to welcome participants joining us from around the world today. We have over 100 journalists from more than 30 countries participating. Joining us to discuss U.S. policy on climate change and next week’s Conference of Parties in Paris is Todd Stern, Special Envoy for Climate change. Thank you for joining us today, Mr. Stern.

MR. STERN: Thank you very much, great pleasure to be here.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Before I turn it over to our guest, I have a few housekeeping notes. We are providing simultaneous interpretation of this event in French, Portuguese, and Spanish via phone lines. If you wish to listen to the press conference in one of these languages, please dial into the phone numbers provided on the bottom left of your screen. You can start submitting your questions now in the bottom of the window titled “Questions for State Department Official.” If you have difficulty submitting your questions, you may email them to live@state.gov. We welcome your questions and we’ll try to get to as many as possible in the time that we have. Please note we can only accept questions in English. If you would like to continue engaging on this topic after today’s program, please follow us on Twitter @StateDept, @US_Center, and @StateDeptOES, and use the hashtags #COP21 or #ActOnClimate. And with that, let’s get started.

Special Envoy Stern, thank you for joining us today, and let’s go straight to the first question, shall we? The first question comes from Andrew Restuccia at Politico: “How are you defining success at Paris and what specifically must be included in the final deal? Has the Administration successfully managed expectations about what can realistically be accomplished in Paris?”

MR. STERN: Well, thanks very much. I would say this: We are looking for an agreement that is ambitious, effective, fair, and durable; that accelerates the transition that we all need to a clean energy, low-carbon, resilient economy worldwide; and that is applicable to all parties, all countries. This is one of the really critical features of this agreement that everybody is going to be involved, everybody engaged.

I think it’s also critically important that this is an agreement that sends a signal – and if we do it right, it’s going to send a signal – to the public, to civil society, to the private sector all over the world that the leaders of the world have taken this issue on, that we’re moving forward, and that there’s no going back, so that’s what I would say. In terms of the critical issues, we need strong mitigation – that’s the effort to reduce emissions. We need excellent transparency. It’s important that all countries and observers can see what everybody’s doing, whether they’re following through on the commitments and pledges that they’ve made. We need strong provisions on adaptation. There’s a great many countries who don’t emit very much but who have – face great risk from the effects of and impacts of climate change, and even countries who are advanced – I mean, we know this in the United States; just look at Hurricane Sandy and the droughts that we’re suffering and so many other things. All countries have a real challenge in adaptation and this agreement means to enhance and increase the focus on adaptation.

We also need strong provisions on financial and other kinds of assistance to poor countries that need it, and we need to move this agreement from the old-style, backward-looking bifurcation between two distinct categories into a world which is forward-looking, where there is differentiation across the range of countries. Countries can’t be expected to do more than they’re able to, but we shouldn’t just have this antiquated way of bifurcating climate change.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Thank you, Special Envoy Stern. Our next question comes from Crystal Sun at Phoenix New Media: “You were in the Kyoto negotiations and you have said repeatedly that Paris is not Kyoto. What do you think could be helpful for not going back to Kyoto?”

MR. STERN: Well, what I mean by saying that this is not Kyoto is really the point that I was just making a moment ago about all countries being part of this, because that was an essential part of the original mandate that we negotiated in Durban. What was a distinguishing feature of Kyoto is that all of the new obligations were only directed at developed countries, so it was really a developed country agreement with developing countries on the sidelines. That doesn’t work anymore. Again, as I said, we have been one of the leaders in devising a structure for this agreement that’s based on a bottom-up approach, where every countries puts forward the contributions and commitments that it thinks that it can make on a nationally determined basis. That’s what’s important and that gets all countries into the game. So in that respect, this is not Kyoto. This is a world where and this is an agreement where all countries are going to play a part, but play a part in a way that’s fair to them and fair to everybody.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Our next question comes from Brazil, Claudia Trevisan: “Many countries insist that the Paris agreement must be legally binding, which is not accepted by the United States. How can this conflict be resolved?”

MR. STERN: Thanks for the question. So the United States has favored an approach that was first put forward in a proposal by New Zealand a year or two ago, which is essentially a kind of hybrid in which many provisions of the agreement would be legally binding and some would not be. So for example, the provisions that apply fundamentally to the accountability of the agreement, the transparency of the agreement, accountability for – precisely for the targets you put forward, for what you say you’re going to do, as well as various elements of process and various rules that would apply to how you count emissions and things like that. The thing that would not be legally binding in the New Zealand approach is the targets themselves, and we thought that that was a good balance, and we thought that and we think that because we’re looking for an agreement that has broad, really full participation and we were quite convinced that an agreement that required actually legally binding targets would have many countries unable to participate.

I would also say, by the way, that contrary to what I think many people might assume, in our view a structure of this kind will actually enhance ambition. We are quite convinced that there are many countries who would be inclined to put in a lower target than they’re really capable of if they were worried about the legal – legally binding nature of the targets themselves. These are discussions I must say that I have heard in the corridors and in private rooms over the last number of years. I remember very clearly a lunch back in Cancun in 2010 with probably 30 countries where there was a lot private discussion about exactly that point. So we think that this hybrid approach strikes the right balance, and we’re quite comfortable with it.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Alex Nussbaum of Bloomberg asks: “What happens after an agreement, assuming it’s reached? What are the next tasks for you, your office, and the U.S. more broadly? What significant decisions do you expect to be left to be negotiated after Paris, and what does the U.S. do to start making the language and commitments in Paris a reality going forward?”

MR. STERN: Great question. So this is what I would say: There are going to be a whole host of steps that will need to follow the agreement. First of all, with respect to the elements of the agreement itself, there will be many situations where we include in the actual agreement text a paragraph or two on a particular issue where there will then need to be further guidelines worked out and developed over hopefully the next year. I mean, we don’t want this to drag out for a long time. But that will be true, for example, in the area of transparency. We will need, from our point of view, enough guidance in the decision that we – in the agreement that we reached in Paris itself to point the way quite clearly to what countries have decided to do. But even with the best guidance possible, there will be a lot more detail, there will be more granular issues that need to be worked out in the course of guidelines that will be negotiated, again, we would hope next year. And that will be true for any number of issues.

Beyond those elements that have to do with how you actually carry the agreement out, look, everybody is making – we have – I mean, it’s one of the really enormously impressive features of the negotiations – features of negotiations so far is that something like 170 countries have put forward their targets, their so-called INDCs, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions in the lingo of these negotiations.

Well, so we get the agreement in Paris, then countries are going to have to actually carry those – implement those targets. If you look at what the United States has been doing over the course of the last number of years under President Obama’s leadership to implement, to reach the target that we agreed to back in Copenhagen and Cancun, enormous efforts with respect to power plants, the transportation sector, the way buildings operate, other gases beyond CO2 such as methane and the industrial gas HFCs, a whole host of actions across the board that we are undertaking to implement the target that we have for 2020. Well, we’re going to have to continue doing that and more for 2025, and so are all the other countries in the world who have taken on their own targets.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: John Upton of Climate Central wonders: “Most countries have submitted INDCs that cover 10 years. The U.S. has a plan that only covers five. Why is that? And what kind of review process would the U.S. like to see for INDCs after Paris?”

MR. STERN: Another very good question. So we did put in a five-year target, and let me tell you why. Our view was that a shorter target, a five-year target rather than 10, would actually enhance ambition, enhance the vigor, the strength of the reductions that we’re able to make. Our calculation – and I’m quite convinced that this is right – is that in five years from now, let’s say in 2020, we will be able to put forward a target for 2030 much stronger than we would be able to do if we were trying to kind of guess on what a 2030 target would look like now 15 years out. So we thought that putting a target forward for 2025 – it’s 10 years from now but it would be five years within the context of the agreement carrying from 2020 to 2025, we thought that that would enhance ambition.

Now, many countries have not agreed. Many countries have put forward 10-year targets. We favor an approach to the agreement that post-2030 would have all countries working on five-year updating of schedules, because again, just for the reason that I said, we think it enhances ambition. And even to the extent that there are countries who don’t do that, there should still be at least a requirement that countries restate, resubmit, revisit a longer target if they have one in each five-year increment. So we’re very – we’ve very much supportive of five years with respect to review. Again, that’s all part of – when I say transparency, what that really means is it’s a set of things that countries need to do. They need to put forward inventories that cover the emissions that are happening in their overall economies. They need to report on the progress they’re making toward the targets that they have set forward. And then there needs to be a review. The review is going to be facilitative. Nobody is thinking here of a punitive review. That wouldn’t fly. But a strong facilitative review that looks at what a country has done and says, “That looks good, you’re on track,” or, “That doesn’t look so good. How can you be helped to do better?”

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Next question comes from Lee Logan at Inside EPA: “What do you see as the necessary elements of the finance portion of the agreement, and will that attract support from major developing countries such as India?”

MR. STERN: So the finance portion of these negotiations is one of the still controversial pieces of it. I think what I would say about finance is that we – and we actually indicated this in a joint statement that President Obama put forward with President Xi of China in late September – a clearly financeable need to continue at a robust level, we have every intention of both making good on the pledges that have – that we have already made in the past up until 2020 and then continuing robust financing after that. We think that there should be some other elements included as well. We think that the donor base, if you will, the number of parties who are prepared to contribute financing to poor countries, should grow. And the truth is it is growing, so we just want to capture the growth that’s already happening.

I’ll give you an example. There are eight countries, developing countries, who have made contributions to the new Green Climate Fund, which is a new major channel for climate assistance. That’s terrific, in our view. China – at that same meeting between President Obama and President Xi that I just referenced, China announced that it was going to contribute or make available over $3 billion for climate assistance to poor countries. We applaud that. That’s terrific. So in a system going forward, as more and more countries grow, develop, and gain the capacity to become contributors, not just recipients, we think that that’s a development that should be encouraged.

We would also – we would also say that it’s – we see it as very important that we on the donor countries side, if you will, work with countries who need assistance to build up their own capacity to attract private sector investment. There’s nothing better for the development of a country not only for climate change but just for development purposes than to be able to draw in private investment. So if you look at – there are any number of countries who are doing a great job of this – Nicaragua is one, the Philippines, Morocco, Malaysia – who have made changes in their regulatory systems, who have made changes in their legal systems and other elements of their own so-called enabling environment, that have led private investors, sometimes with government – with a government boost from the World Bank or the U.S. or the EU or whatever, but with private investment coming in in a big way.

So that’s the way you open up the big, big, big money to come in. So we have to keep up the government investment and the government support that we are doing, but we also need to try to help poorer countries develop the sorts of economies that will attract capital.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Thank you, Special Envoy Stern. Before we move to our next question, I’d like to remind everybody that transcripts, video, and audio of today’s LiveAtState will be sent to all participants and posted on state.gov.

Our next question comes from Houmi at Le Point Afrique, and she asks: “According to LDC Chair Giza Gaspar-Martins, climate finance was a key discussion point of the pre-COP ministerial, but we are not clear whether the financial support will be backed with assistance in building an infrastructure that allows countries to deliver their national climate action plans. What do you think of that statement?”

MR. STERN: Well, I – we work very closely with Angola, and I have worked very closely, actually, with Giza himself, who is an excellent negotiator and an excellent representative both of Angola and of the Least Developed Country Group. I think – very consistent with what I just said a minute ago, climate finance is crucial. It’s crucial, by the way, both for mitigation, the effort to reduce emissions; but also, particularly when you’re focusing on very poor countries who don’t have very many emissions, it’s also crucial to focus on the adaptation side of the equation.

In the U.S., we’ve increased our adaptation assistance, I think, eight times since President Obama – by a multiple of eight, I should say – since President Obama took office. And we are supportive of increased financing for adaptation. I would point to the decision made in the Green Climate Fund that 50 percent of the funds for the Green Climate Fund on a so-called grant equivalent basis should go for adaptation, not just have the lion’s share go to mitigation. And I think that those things are enormously important.

It’s also important, as the question indicates, to provide support that would help countries develop in a low-carbon way. And we have a U.S. program called LEDS, Low Emission Development Strategies, which has been very effective. We’ve worked with about 20 countries, a number of them in Africa, in helping countries do exactly that. That’s something that other donor countries are doing as well, but that – where there needs to be more of.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Our next question comes from Chile. Paula Nunez asks: “Do you think the American business sector has a real commitment with climate change nowadays?”

MR. STERN: Well, I think the American business sector is – has a stronger and stronger commitment on climate change, and we’re seeing that in many, many ways. I mean, in the most direct way related to the negotiations, there’s an effort that we have put together called American Business Acts on Climate. There are 81 major U.S. corporations that have signed on to that. Many of them are going to be in Paris. They have both put forward pledges about what they’re going to do in their own corporate context in the period between, say, now and 2025 or so, to reduce emissions and to use energy more efficiently.

And they have also signed on to a statement indicating their support for a strong, effective, ambitious agreement in Paris. But obviously, the support goes way, way beyond those 81 countries, I think – 81 companies. I think that what you will see and what we are seeing from business is a greater and greater both support but also understanding that climate change is for real and that action is necessary.

And I would say this obvious thing about the business sector: Businesspeople are necessarily people who are grounded in fact, who are grounded in facts and are rooted in facts; they have to look at the world through fact-based lenses or else they’re not going to make the right decisions that will allow their companies to be successful. You can’t run business on ideology. You have to run business on reality. And that fact is something that ultimately – and I think now – is bringing large numbers of companies, including many who have not been historic supporters of action on climate change, to see that this is real, this isn’t going away, they need to be able to manage it, or else the impacts on the overall economy and their own company is going to be serious.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Our next question comes from the Brunei Times. Darren Chin wonders: “The State Department is the second-highest emitter of -- ” rather, “The United States is the second-highest emitter of CO2 and greenhouse gases in the world after China. Should developing countries or emerging economies shoulder as much of the responsibility to cut down on CO2 admissions – emissions as developed economies such as the United States?”

MR. STERN: Well, so the question is actually perfectly apt, because yes, the United States is, as the questioner asked, the second-biggest emitter. And the biggest emitter is China – nearly twice the size of the United States at this point. China is a developing country in the context of climate negotiations. And that’s just an illustration of why we need to have both sides of this equation acting.

We now have a situation where something between 60 and 65 percent of global emissions come from developing countries. That’s not a bad thing; that’s a good thing. What that means is developing countries are developing, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But what we – but what it says is you can’t solve climate change just on the back of the 30 or 35 percent that’s represented by developed countries.

At the same time – and this is absolutely embedded in our approach to this agreement – you cannot ask countries to act in ways that are going to be inconsistent with their imperatives of growth, development, and the eradication of poverty. I mean, you can’t ask countries to do that. And if you ask them to do it, they wouldn’t do it, and that’s quite understandable.

So what we need to have and what we do have embedded in this agreement is the notion of nationally determined action. Countries should be encouraged to do the best that they very – the very best that they can because the problem is really serious and we – and for all of our – for the sake of all of us and our kids, we need to deal with it. But countries need to act in a way that they think that they can actually manage.

So we have put forward a structure that says everybody’s got to act. Yes, we understand that there are countries in different stages of development. We understand that there are many countries that are going to be able to do this, but not that. But the decision will be theirs. But we cannot simply say, “Developed countries, this is your burden; developing countries, you can stand aside.”

So we need to have everybody acting. And I would also say that there are many countries in the developing country group in the climate negotiations who are very advanced – actually, very wealthy countries. So there’s a mix. Everybody – basically, the bottom line message is everybody’s got to act according to their own ability.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: The next question comes from Reuters. Valerie Volcovici wonders how the Paris talks will deal with the issue of technology transfer. Will the focus be on capacity building or boosting finances?

MR. STERN: Well, I think some of both, probably. I think that tech transfer is an important issue. It’s always been part of these negotiations. We have, over the course of the last number of years, done a number of things that are helpful in that regard. We started the so-called Climate Technology Center and Network. We started a technology executive committee to focus on these issues.

There is no question that technology is a big piece of the ultimate solution to climate change. There’s a lot of technology and a lot of solutions that actually exist now, but we need more. It’s a reason, by the way, why the United States and many other countries have been very focused on the importance of boosting research and development, the kind of R&D spending that will produce the breakthroughs in a – across a range of clean energy technologies that we need. But for poor countries and countries that need technology, absolutely, we need to provide both funding and technical assistance.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Randy Showstack from eos.org asks: “With all of the various moving pieces in these negotiations at COP21, what do you believe are the one or two biggest hurdles to reaching what you term as a strong and successful agreement coming out of Paris? Also, what are the biggest potential points of failure, and what are you and others trying to do to prevent or overcome these potential roadblocks or failures?”

MR. STERN: So look, I think that there are a number of issues that are under serious discussion and negotiation still. That’s very normal; that’s the way these things always go. I noted earlier the fact of the 170 or so targets that have been submitted. That’s an enormous fact to take into account. What it says is that – and that probably includes more than – well over 120 who are developing. So that indicates a very considerable level of buy-in by the world community to getting this agreement done. Nobody would go through the blood, sweat, and tears that it takes to put together one of these targets if they didn’t think the agreement was going to happen and if they weren’t fundamentally bought in to an agreement happening. So that’s a very good backdrop.

There are still issues that are challenging. I think the precise way in which we capture differentiation is an ongoing discussion, and I think that we will do it, but it is an ongoing discussion and debate. It comes up in any number of issues, whether mitigation or transparency or financial support. So those are all issues that will be very much part of the discussion.

I think the other sort of broad – I don’t know if I would call it a hurdle, but something that we want to be careful about is not trying to achieve an agreement which is just minimalist and puts off decisions too much to the future. As I’ve said, some – there’s always a feature of these agreements where you try to agree to something in the main agreement itself, and then there are guidelines that need to follow it. But we need to make sure what’s in this agreement is itself robust, itself makes clear where we’re going, provides the guidance for any follow-up work that’s needed, and that we don’t take the position of saying, “Well, we’re just going to have kind of a few very limited words here and we’ll kick things over for the next time.” I think we don’t want to kick things over for the next time. Now is our time. This is the moment, and we want to seize it.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Thank you, Special Envoy Stern. I’d like to take this moment to remind everyone where they can follow us and continue with this conversation on social media. On Twitter, that’s @StateDept and @US_Center and @StateDeptOES. And of course, on Twitter, you can use the hashtag #COP21 and hashtag #ActOnClimate.

Our next question will take us to The Sunday Times of London, and Jonathan Leake has a question about the many – about: “Many of the countries involved in the COP21 talks and the UNFCCC processes have published data on their emissions along with pledges to reduce them. However, there is no way at the moment of knowing if the data is accurate or measuring how well the pledges are kept. Could you please set our views on verification? What principles should be applied to verification, and what mechanisms would you like to see in place?”

MR. STERN: Well, that takes us back to the issue that I have referred to as transparency. It is also sometimes referred to as MR.V – monitoring, reporting, and verification. It’s – I’m using those terms interchangeably. The term being used in negotiations right now is transparency, but it includes, in the first instance, countries doing good inventories. I mean, there’s a lot of progress that still needs to be made in that regard. Some countries do good inventories, and many don’t yet. So that’s something that we need to get countries on a good path toward doing, because inventories are a kind of baseline that are needed to understand the emissions picture in any given country.

We also then have the reporting component, which – in which most importantly has to involve reporting on a country’s progress toward the target that it has taken. Again, that’s hugely important, and we will need reporting that allows the expert review teams – and that’s the third piece; there needs to be review – the expert review teams to assess whether the information that countries are providing is solid, whether countries are on a good track to meet the target that they have laid down, and ultimately whether countries have achieved that target.

So having that system work well is going to be enormously important. The actual review piece is something that there’s a lot of – we have a lot of experience with, because expert review teams have worked for many years in the UNFCCC context. They have mostly been focused on the actions of developed countries, some on developing. But these are teams that accumulate and analyze all of the data that is prepared by countries and go back and discuss with countries when they have questions, and that’s – that system is going to be, I think, enormously important. I really agree with the questioner in this regard, because people are going to be looking for confidence. People in the negotiations, people outside the negotiations are going to be looking for the capacity to have trust and confidence in what countries say they are doing. Can’t run the system without that.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: I think this next question from David Biello at Scientific American builds off that. He wants to know: “What safeguards will be put in place to ensure that this won’t be like people choosing their own tax rates and that ambitious goals for emission reduction will be made and achieved?”

MR. STERN: Well, I wouldn’t say it’s like people choosing their own tax rates, but I think what we are talking about is the capacity for countries to make their own determination about what’s the best way for them to proceed. And there’s a lot of different ways that you can go at this problem in a manner that’s quite effective. If you look at the target that China has put forward, for example – and a big part of that target was first announced last year at the historic joint announcement between President Obama and President Xi in Beijing last November. So China’s target includes a commitment to peak its emissions by 2030 or earlier, if they’re able to. It includes a pledge to increase the share of non-fossil fuels by up to 20 percent of their energy total. That’s actually an enormous undertaking; it will require China to build something like 900 gigawatts of non-fossil energy between now and 2030. Just by way of comparison, the entire United States electricity system is 1,100 gigawatts, so China’s going to have to build in renewable or nuclear energy between now and 2030 almost as much capacity as the entire U.S. system in order to meet that 20 percent goal. They also have a goal for or target for an improvement in the energy intensity of their economy.

So those are three different ways to go, and we have an absolute reduction target to go 26 to 28 percent below our 2005 levels by 2025. Different countries have different ways to go. I think we – as long as they are solid and clear, I think preferably – we’d like to see absolute targets to the extent that those are possible. I think you see those across the board among developed countries. You’re seeing those for – in some cases for developing. And I think you will see more and more of that going forward. But it is okay for countries to – again, I wouldn’t say choose your own tax rate, but to choose your own way of reducing emissions as long as it’s ambitious, as long as it’s clear, as long as it’s transparent, and as long as it can be tracked.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Ed King from Climate Home says: “On finance, do you see a Paris agreement stipulating new figures for finance delivery, such as a $100 billion floor for – from 2020, and do you think calls for 35 billion of adaptation finance by 2020 are realistic?”

MR. STERN: Thanks for the question. We don’t know yet, is the short answer. What I have said, as I noted a little bit earlier today, is that we certainly see robust financing continuing. We have – we are operating on – against a pledge right now that was undertaken in 2009 and 2010 – repeated in 2010 – by developed countries to seek to mobilize $100 billion a year of finance by 2020 from all sources, public and private; from all channels, whether those are bilateral channels or the World Bank or other multilateral development banks and so forth; and to do that in the context of meaningful mitigation and transparency.

If you look at those criteria and apply them to the situation we’re in right now, meaningful mitigation and transparency right now as we walk into this Paris negotiation would obviously include meaningful mitigation and transparency provisions in this agreement – strong and effective provisions in this agreement itself. Exactly what the words will be to convey the notion that strong and robust financing is going to continue I think are a subject of discussion and debate.

As I also said earlier, we are looking for a world going forward – a post-2020 world – where the class of donors, the group of donors starts expanding. And as I noted, the good news is it already is. We have those eight countries – developing countries – that have contributed to the Green Climate Fund. We have China, that has announced a $3 billion – making $3 billion available to poor countries in a climate fund of its own. And there are any number of other developing countries that do make funding available. So it’s going to be a world where the base of donors is going to expand, the donors that are already there are going to continue to provide robust financing, and the specifics and dollar numbers and all of that will be part of these negotiations.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Our last question for today comes from Thomas Schueneman of triplepundit.org: “If the goals for Paris are not met, how do you see the COP process moving forward? Can this moment be recaptured?”

MR. STERN: So I’m not going to indulge in the – in thinking about the downside of Paris. I’m going to prefer to focus on the upside. I mean, what I will say is this: The stars are more aligned right now to reach agreement than I have ever seen them – than I have ever seen happen before. We have a real opportunity. We are riding on the wave of those 170 targets that have been submitted. We know countries are interested in getting this done. The situation right now – there’s no comparison, for example, to the most recent major moment, which is 2009, when people were heading into Copenhagen. And I’ve been around long enough that I was actually there. And we have this opportunity; we have this moment. Countries are going to need to be willing now – starting now, starting today, starting yesterday – to depart from some of their fixed positions, seek common ground, find that middle zone, that landing zone where we can actually get this agreement done. That is happening. That has been happening. It has to happen more. But we can get this done. I think we will get this done. And I’m not going to think about the alternative. Thanks.

MR. ZELTAKALNS: Well, that’s all the time we have for today. And thank you very much Special Envoy Stern for making the time to be here with us today. And for those of you watching from abroad and at home, we will send you audio and video files and a transcript of today’s program shortly.

And again, if you’d like to continue to engage on climate change issues today, tomorrow, throughout COP21, you may follow us on Twitter @StateDept, @US_Center, and @StateDeptOES. Just use the hashtag #COP21 and hashtag #ActOnClimate. I’d also note that for those who are not native English speakers the State Department maintains foreign language Twitter feeds in Russian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic. So explore us on Twitter there too for a continuing conversation on climate change. We hope you can join us again for another LiveAtState program soon. Have a good night.