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Related Subtopics: Climate Change

Environmental Diplomacy Leading to Copenhagen
A Seminar and Book Launch on International Negotiations to Address
Global Environmental Challenges

Seminar and Book Launch
November 18, 2009

With the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on the horizon, predictions abound regarding the efficacies and inadequacies of international efforts to address climate change. From a diplomatic standpoint, what can we expect from the Copenhagen meeting, and how will we define success?

During his nine years as principal deputy assistant secretary in the Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Richard J. Smith led negotiations on some of the most significant environmental and scientific agreements of the late and post-Cold War era. Negotiating Environment and Science: An Insider’s View of International Agreements, from Driftnets to the Space Station, a new book from RFF Press, is Smith’s unprecedented historical account of eight landmark negotiations that he led, including the London agreement to amend the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the international space station agreement, the U.S.-Soviet (eventually, U.S.-Russian) agreement on scientific cooperation, the U.S.-Canadian acid rain agreement, and the negotiations in Sofia, Bulgaria that established a first link between human rights and the environment. These negotiations set important precedents for facing the environmental and scientific challenges of today.

This RFF seminar used the historical insights and lessons learned from Negotiating Environment and Science as a launching point to explore salient themes in environmental diplomacy leading up to the Copenhagen meeting, including the U.S. domestic policy framework for confronting climate change, the importance of U.S. leadership on environmental issues, and, more broadly, the role of diplomatic agreements in addressing global environmental challenges.

  Negotiating Environment and Science - Richard J. Smith
Negotiating Environment and Science: An Insider’s View of International Agreements, from Driftnets to the
Space Station

Richard J. Smith
RFF Press
Read the Foreword and the Preface

Read a summary of this event on the Weathervane blog.

Video and Audio

Event Audio (mp3)
click to stream or right-click to download


Phil Sharp, President of Resources For The Future
Richard J. Smith, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Frank E. Loy, former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs (1998-2001)
Alan D. Hecht, Director for Sustainable Development, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Panel Question and Answer

Richard J. Smith

Frank E. Loy

Alan D. Hecht

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