Jonathan Pershing

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Jonathan Pershing was appointed as U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change on March 19, 2009. The U.S. State Department announced that Pershing will "will report to Special Envoy Todd Stern and serve as the Department’s senior climate negotiator and Head of Delegation at official level meetings of UN climate change conferences."[1]

Prior to his appointment Pershing had worked as Director of the Climate, Energy and Pollution Program at the World Resources Institute (WRI), a Washington D.C think tank. He is listed as a contributor to Working Group III of the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC[2]


A biographical note formerly on the WRI website stated that Pershing was "active in work on emissions trading, energy technology and the evolving architecture of international climate agreements. Dr. Jonathan Pershing is active in US and international climate policy design. He serves on the CA Market Advisory Committee, was the facilitator for the Northeast states’ emissions trading initiative (RGGI) and for the Illinois state climate advisory group, has testified before the US Senate and House and advises major US and multinational companies on the business strategies for climate change. He is a regular participant in the international UN climate negotiations and a lead author for the IPCC. Prior to joining WRI, Dr. Pershing was Head of the Energy and Environment Division at the International Energy Agency and from 1990–1998, he served as Deputy Director and Science Advisor for the US State Department’s Office of Global Change."[4]

Statements on the Kyoto Protocol

"We are not going to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. That is out," Pershing told AFP two months ahead of the COP15 conference in Copenhagen.[5]

Sidelining the United Nations In Post-Copenhagen Climate Talks

In a presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Pershing foreshadowed that the U.S. expected that the UNFCCC would have a diminished role in post-Copenhagen negotiations on a climate change agreement. "It is impossible to imagine a global agreement in place that doesn't essentially have a global buy-in. There aren't other institutions beside the UN that have that. But it is also impossible to imagine a negotiation of enormous complexity where you have a table of 192 countries involved in all the detail," he said. He also foreshadowed that he didn't have much confidence in United Nations agencies having a major role in managing the funds raised to address climate change mitigation and adaptation. "I am not sure that any of us are particularly confident that the UN managing the near-term financing is the right way to go."[6]

"We are going to have a very very difficult time moving forward and it will be a combination of small and larger processes," he said.[6]

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles


  1. U.S. Department of State, "Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing", Media Release, March 23, 2009.
  2. Page 830"[1]"
  3. European Climate Foundation Supervisory Board, organizational web page, accessed November 30, 2018.
  4. "Jonathan Pershing", World Resources Institute, archived page from November 2007.
  5. Marlowe Hood, "Climate: What's to become of the Kyoto Protocol?", AFP, October 7, 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Suzanne Goldenberg and John Vidal, "UN should be sidelined in future climate talks, says Obama official", Guardian, January 14, 2010.

External Links

Publications, Speeches and Testimony by Pershing

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