Stern ‘73 to be climate-change envoy
By Anya Perret, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed Todd Stern '73 to be the U.S. special envoy for climate change on Monday morning. Stern will be the United States' primary representative in international climate negotiations.
"With the appointment today of a special envoy, we are sending an unequivocal message that the United States will be energetic, focused, strategic and serious about addressing global climate change and the corollary issue of clean energy," Clinton said in a State department press conference.
Earlier in the day, Obama ordered the Transportation Department to raise national fuel-efficiency standards on cars and light trucks as soon as possible. He also announced that he had told Environmental Protection Agency officials to reconsider states' applications for waivers to allow them to enact automobile greenhouse gas emission standards that exceed federal specifications. Waivers for California and 13 other states are pending. During the Bush administration, the EPA rejected 18 states' petitions to enact stricter standards.
Stern, in a Monday press conference, echoed Clinton's words about bringing new focus to climate change and renewable energy, and said he will strive to craft multilateral climate change solutions.
"A new day is dawning in the U.S. approach to climate change and clean energy," he said. "The time for denial, delay and dispute is over."
In order for the world to become energy independent, Stern said, the global economy will have to transition from high-carbon energy sources, including fossil fuels, to low-carbon energy sources, like solar and wind power.
He added that the United States should set a global example in developing renewable, environmentally friendly energy sources.
Stern has previously proposed creating global institutions to coordinate efforts to combat climate change.
He co-wrote a paper, published by the Center for American Progress in June 2007, that called for the formation of the "E-8" -- a theoretical organization to lead annual gatherings of developed and developing countries to address climate change.
"We need a way to break through the political fog and bureaucratic clutter to give global environmental issues the focused, top-level treatment they deserve," Stern wrote in the paper.
Stern currently serves as a Senior Fellow at the think tank American Progress, which researches climate change and environmental issues.
He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and partner at the law firm Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr, where he is vice chair of public policy and strategy practice.
During former President Bill Clinton's administration, Stern served as senior White House negotiator at the Kyoto and Buenos Aires climate negotiations, and White House staff secretary.
At Dartmouth, Stern majored in English modified with philosophy and participated in freshman tennis and an Upper Valley tutoring program, according to The Aegis. He graduated summa cum laude before attending Harvard Law School, where he also graduated with Honors.
The State Department did not return a request for comment.