U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named Todd Stern Special Envoy for Climate Change.
"American leadership is essential to meeting the challenges of the 21st century," said Secretary Clinton, "and chief among those is the complex, urgent, and global threat of climate change."
"From rapidly rising temperatures to melting arctic icecaps, from lower crop yields to dying forests, from unforgiving hurricanes to unrelenting droughts, we have no shortage of evidence that our world is facing a climate crisis," she said.
Under President Barack Obama, the U.S., said Secretary Clinton, "will take the lead in addressing this challenge, both by making commitments of our own and engaging other nations to do the same."
For its part, the U.S. will immediately enact measures to lower greenhouse gas emissions and to make new and significant investments in clean energy technology and a new green economy. On January 27, President Obama announced major new policies to improve the fuel efficiency of automobiles, which will significantly reduce dependence on foreign oil and cut U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases.
President Obama is committed to enacting a far-reaching new energy and climate plan. "As we take steps at home," said Secretary Clinton, "we will also vigorously pursue negotiations, those sponsored by the United Nations and those at the sub-global, regional, and bilateral level that can lead to binding international climate agreements." No solution is feasible, she said, "without all major emitting nations joining together and playing an important part."
Secretary Clinton said Special Envoy on Climate Change Stern will serve as a principal advisor on international climate policy and strategy. He will be the Administration's chief climate negotiator and will participate in all energy-related policy discussions across the U.S. Government that can have an impact on carbon emissions.
"Containing climate change will require nothing less than transforming the global economy from a high-carbon to a low-carbon energy base," said Mr. Stern. The Special Envoy noted that the United States is the largest historic emitter of greenhouse gases, and said, "We can only expect to lead abroad if we are prepared to act decisively at home."
But he also noted that eighty percent of greenhouse gas emissions are produced outside the United States and that, "in the years ahead, every large emitter will have to make major changes in the way they use energy and manage their forests and lands." Dramatically reducing those emissions, he said will require "a strong, new multilateral agreement," he said, and, "above all, political will."