At the U.S. delegation press conference this afternoon on the final day of the Barcelona climate talks, I asked U.S. deputy climate change envoy Jonathan Pershing what effect, if any, Senator James Inhofe (R-Denial) might have on the process in Copenhagen, and whether GOP intransigence is hurting Obama’s ability to come up with a firm number on U.S. emissions reductions.
Pershing responded that the U.S. delegation traveling to Denmark will include “a wide variety of members of Congress as well as their staff,” from both parties, as is the tradition in international negotiations.
“They are engaged with us in discussions about what they think will be effective, but U.S. policymaking on the international arena and negotiations is in the purview of the executive branch, and will remain that way,” Pershing told me.
It is promising to hear Pershing confirm that the Obama administration isn’t going to let GOP shenanigans control the U.S. position on international climate policy. But there is no doubt in the minds of the delegates wrapping up the Barcelona talks today that the continued momentum of the Kerry-Boxer Senate bill over the coming weeks could mean the difference between failure and success in Copenhagen.
Watch the U.S. delegation press conference here. My exchange with Pershing is at the very end.