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Copenhagen Climate Negotiations: The Briefing Book

Information, communications, and organizational infrastructure for policy that cools the planet and heats up the economy.

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Copenhagen CenterDelegates from the United States and 191 other nations gather in Copenhagen this month to craft a fair, ambitious, and binding international agreement to solve climate change. Hundreds of public interest organizations and tens of thousands of citizens from around the world will join them. Just as in Rio in 1992 and Kyoto in 1997, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is a rare opportunity for the world to consider the environment, the economy, and the dire consequences of rising global temperatures.

Copenhagen Climate Negotiations: The Briefing Book is designed to help members of the U.S. Congressional delegation, as well as reporters and editors gain a clear understanding of the international treaty negotiating process. The intent of The Briefing Book, prepared by the U.S. Climate Action Network and its partner organizations, is to make the complexities of global negotiations simpler to understand and follow. The Briefing Book provides the following:

  • Vital background material.
  • The history of the process.
  • Reports on domestic and international climate action.
  • Technical background on the key negotiating issues.
  • Materials to help make your work in Copenhagen more effective.


International FlagsTwo years ago, delegates met in Bali to construct the basic architecture of a new climate agreement, and they committed to completing the treaty in Copenhagen. The documents in The Briefing Book, all of which can be found here, provide powerful evidence of how close the world is to reaching that goal. Still, several large barriers remain including crucial commitments from the United States to limit carbon emissions and contribute financially to the global clean energy transition. In late November, President Obama announced he would attend the negotiations and announced the United States would commit to emissions targets.

The president's announcement followed his statement in mid-November, during the U.S.-China Summit in Beijing, when Obama declared his resolve to reach a substantive climate agreement in Copenhagen. "Our aim is not a partial accord or a political declaration," the president said, "but rather an accord that covers all of the issues in the negotiations, and one that has immediate operational effect. This kind of comprehensive agreement would be an important step forward in the effort to rally the world around a solution to our climate challenge."

USCAN is actively engaged in the negotiations during these two weeks in Copenhagen. Look to our staff and many partners for assistance with any facet of the process. Success in Copenhagen means considerably advancing the hard work of cooling our planet and accelerating the clean energy economy now unfolding in the United States and around the world.


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