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Fletcher in the News

'The World' speaks to Prof. Gallagher about the COP17 stalemate

Climate Talks Face Stalemate

Host Marco Werman speaks with climate policy expert and associate professor at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Kelly Sims Gallagher about the stalemate in the UN climate negotiations. Gallagher says it's time for the US and China to step outside the UN process and try to reach a grand bargain on climate and other issues.

The text below is a phonetic transcript of a radio story broadcast by PRI’s THE WORLD. Listen to the conversation here.

Marco Werman: I’m Marco Werman, this is The World. In South Africa today the United States denied it’s trying to delay a new global climate deal until the year 2020. Some delegates at the UN climate talks underway this week in Durban think otherwise. They claim the US wants to delay the start of a legally binding treaty to cut greenhouse gas pollution because of political pressures at home. But chief US negotiator Todd Stern told reporters that the US supports a new European proposal for a global deal. That proposal was revealed just today, providing an unexpected glimmer of hope for substantial progress at this year’s climate summit. Whatever the outcome in Durban though it’s almost certain to be far short of what’s needed to meet the challenge posed by climate change over the next few decades. The process of trying to negotiate a new global treaty on greenhouse gases has nearly ground to a halt in the last few years. And that’s lead many observers to call for a different approach. Kelly Sims Gallagher is an associate professor of energy at environmental policy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Kelly, has the UN process hit a wall in your opinion?

Kelly Sims Gallagher: I believe it has. It’s not that the United Nations process is fundamentally flawed, it’s that there isn’t any room or latitude within these negotiations for breakthrough ideas, for crossing issues, for…

Werman: So what do you see as promising alternatives?

Gallagher: In my view the United States and China need to have a different approach to these negotiations. The two countries need to step outside of the climate change issue and find a way to bridge their differences. And after they do that they can then bring a deal back to this negotiating forum.

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