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For Obama in Copenhagen, not exactly a welcome wagon

By Juliet Eilperin

Kevin Conrad, the executive director of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations who is best known for telling the U.S. to "get out of the way" in 2007 when the Bush administration was impeding progress on a global climate deal, isn't exactly impressed with the Obama administration's opening bid in the pivotal talks beginning Monday in Copenhagen. (To watch Conrad's moment of fame from 2007, go to the 1:00 minute mark in the video above.)

In an interview, Conrad said President Obama needs to offer more when he comes to Copenhagen for next week's high-level meetings. The U.S. has pledged to reduce its greenhouse emissions "in the range of 17 percent" compared to 2005 levels, which is equivalent to a 3.4 percent from 1990 levels, the baseline most of the world uses.

"Their position in my view is a deal killer if you're focused, as small island developing states are, on a robust agreement that is consistent with the IPCC recommendations," Conrad said, referring to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recommendation that developed nations need to cut their emissions by between 25 and 40 percent by 2020.

While Obama has improved "the rhetoric," Conrad said, "when you look at what they're proposing, it's absolutely unimpressive."

Conrad is special envoy and ambassador for environment and climate change for Papua New Guinea.

Go to the 4:27 mark of this video to hear Conrad's recent thoughts on the climate conference:


Juliet Eilperin

 |  December 6, 2009; 9:15 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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