Head of the U.S. delegation Todd Stern on Wednesday clarified that while there were expectations of a useful visit when President Barack Obama visits India in January, no climate deal is expected on the lines of that between the U.S. and China signed recently.
Responding to questions, Mr. Stern said he had met Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday. India is an important player and he expected it to be a constructive one in the ongoing climate talks. The U.S. does a lot of bilateral work with India on clean energy and will continue doing so. It was also highly engaged with India on clean energy initiatives and will contribute to any goal they may have. However, he said, ”We don’t have anything in the works that’s of the kind that we were involved with China.”
He said he was with Secretary of State John Kerry when he visited China last February. The idea for a deal was conceived of in Mr. Stern’s office and it was discussed with China’s top leadership during the visit. The official deal was announced nine months later, he said and it was not something that was decided in two weeks.
He said, ”We don’t have kind of process with India but we have a substantial desire to work in a constructive and ramped up way with India on climate change and clean energy.”
He said that Mr. Kerry would arrive in Lima on Thursday for a few hours since he was visiting the region and he would make some remarks on the U.S. commitments on climate. Mr. Stern said he agreed with the European Commissioner for energy and climate action (EU) Miguel Canete that the progress of the current negotiations was exceedingly slow and the text was being discussed line by line and new proposals were being introduced. However, he felt this was not shocking and this sort of this happened. However, it was not in any danger zone with respect to time and the new co-chairs would have some idea of how to take things forward. He said he would not describe himself as overly worried but he would concur with the notion that things on Tuesday and on Monday dragged on slowly.
He denied that Mr. Kerry was coming here in response to anything going on in Lima and this was a planned visit. Even if things were going swimmingly, he would have come anyway, Mr. Stern pointed out. He didn’t expect Mr. Kerry to get involved with the negotiations in any way, he added.
To a question he said some countries could work well even without binding treaties and some needed that for political will.
He said the talks would finish on time or extend by a day but it would end with goodwill.