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[On the role of the United States at the COP 24 U.N. climate negotiations] They don’t have credibility and leadership capacity and leverage, of course, the way they used to.
[On the role of the United States in the COP 24 U.N. climate negotiations] In Paris there were a lot of countries who took a deep breath and went beyond their comfort zone. [At COP24 at the] political level, there’s no U.S. leverage. The absence of the U.S. hurts for sure, but I think there are plenty of grownups who can get us there ... It would be a different deal if the U.S. were here.
[On the role of the United States in the COP 24 climate negotiations under the Trump administration] The United States played a really big role in the negotiating process during the Obama years. That whole political level is not there. The US as a country does not have credibility or leverage here. It's hard not to have a strong US role in international affairs, period. Things happen when the US engages, and it's hard to make consequential things happen with the US on the sidelines. Not to mention the US on the sidelines throwing spitballs.
[On the future of the Paris Agreement, and reflections at the COP 24 U.N. climate negotiations] My concern is to try to preserve and facilitate what was agreed to in Paris, without it getting off the track.
[On the role of the United States in the U.N. climate negotiations at COP 24] I think [the state department negotiators] are doing a good job. And I think they are appreciated as being serious and knowledgeable and effective and cordial.
Brookings Senior Fellow and former U.S. State Department Special Envoy on Climate Todd Stern spoke at the US Climate Action Center, at the COP 24 UN climate negotiations, on the future of the Paris Agreement in Katowice, Poland on December 10, 2018.