Interview with Conrad Lautenbacher, Former Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and atmosphere

Former Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher has attended the conference “The Climate Change beyond the Paris agreement” on February 7th, 2018. Admiral Lautenbacher agreed to be subjected to an interview for our website.

Being the USAthe second highest emission producer in the world, would it be appropriate to renegotiate the agreement to obtain a more favorable deal?

I support working to the last minute on just about everything, so I think we should continue to try to include the USA in this treaty.

Do you think COP21 will be able to significantly improve world future conditions?

I do not think COP21 is the best possible agreement but it is a good platform from which to work, for all nations in the world.

Do you think COP21 has some weak points?

If you review the history of the climate change commitments beginning with the Kyoto protocol through COP21, those commitments have become less definitive. We began with specific remedies and rules that every country would follow and which have now been reduced to NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) allowing every country to do essentially what they individually develop for themselves.

Would it be possible to set up a sanction system for the countries not fulfilling their COP21 commitments?

That would be very difficult because we would have to change the way countries work with each other. Using the UN system as the best model we have today, each country remains sovereign and conducts business as needed for their individual benefit.

What is your opinion about the role of Italy and European Union into COP21 and the previous environmental agreements?

I haven’t been to the recent COP meetings but I think that the European Union has worked constructively and sincerely in furthering worldwide progress of climate change negotiations.

Do you think the cooperation showed in the Arctic agreement of the last November could be translated also into an effort of cooperation into other areas of the planet?

I think every cooperative agreement is a step that can help the nations of the world to go even further, so yes I think it could help. I would certainly like to see more attention payed to Arctic negotiations.

Francesco Garibaldi
Stefano Merenda

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