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Cablegate: Argentina: Ambassador Delivers Climate Change Talking Points

VZCZCXRO7761
RR RUEHAST RUEHDH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHSL RUEHTM
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHBU #1316/01 3381351
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041349Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0141
INFO ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 0008

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BUENOS AIRES 001316

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
FOR WHA/EPSC - FRANCES COLON
ALSO FOR OES/EGC - DREW NELSON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ENRG KGHG SENV PGOV PREL AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: AMBASSADOR DELIVERS CLIMATE CHANGE TALKING POINTS
TO ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY; GOA POSITION UNCHANGED

REF: PERSHING-MARTINEZ CONCALL OF NOVEMBER 23
COLON-PEREZ E-MAIL OF NOVEMBER 27; BUENOS AIRES 1244

1. (SBU) Summary: The Ambassador delivered climate change talking
points (ref A and B) on December 1 to Argentina's Environment
Secretary Homero Bibiloni and Climate Change Lead Negotiator Silvia
Merega. She stressed the importance of reaching a politically
binding agreement in Copenhagen and highlighted the U.S. proposal
for emissions cuts, but noted the need for robust actions by large
emerging countries. Both Bibiloni and Merega expressed doubts
about the USG's ability to deliver emissions cuts and funding for
developing countries. The key to overcome this credibility gap,
Bibiloni believed, is for the USG to put a clear funding proposal
on the table, with specific amounts and rules for distribution,
which would be open to mid-level countries and target not only
mitigation but also adaptation. It is clear that the GOA's
position remains unchanged (ref C). End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ---

AMBASSADOR DELIVERS TALKING POINTS ON COPENHAGEN

--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (SBU) The Ambassador met on December 1 with Argentina's
Environment Secretary Homero Bibiloni to deliver climate change
talking points in ref A and B. Also present in the meeting were
the MFA's lead negotiator for climate change, Ambassador Silvia
Merega, and ESTHCouns. The Ambassador emphasized the importance of
reaching a politically binding agreement at the Conference of the
Parties (COP) in Copenhagen, pointing out that the alternative to
such an agreement was no deal at all. She stressed the USG's
commitment to emissions reductions, highlighting far-reaching
pending legislation, but noted that the U.S. was also looking for
robust actions by large emerging economies. She called on
Argentina to work together with the United States in a pragmatic
way to reach an agreement.

----------------------------------------

DOUBTS ABOUT THE U.S. ABILITY TO DELIVER

----------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Bibiloni and Merega expressed doubts as to the U.S.
Administration's ability to deliver meaningful legislation. Given
what they perceived as a lack of meaningful action to date by the
United States, they questioned the call for actions by emerging and
mid-level countries, and were particularly opposed to the concept
of an international registry. The message they relayed repeatedly
was that, until the GOA has a clear idea as to how much funds will
be available to developing countries, how the funds will be
distributed, and what the rules will be, it will not discuss any
possible actions. Argentina's position remains unchanged (ref C).
Bibiloni also stressed that Argentina is interested in funding for
adaptation rather than mitigation, "like most developing
countries," he said. He questioned why, if the USG was willing to
spend "billions of dollars to save the financial system," it was
not willing to commit to a significant amount to save the planet.

--------------------------------------------- --

THE KEY TO AN AGREEMENT: FUNDING FOR ADAPTATION

--------------------------------------------- --

4. (SBU) Still, the GOA is looking for a win-win in Copenhagen,
Bibiloni said, and funds for adaptation are the key to an
agreement. He summarized the GOA's vision for an agreement as
getting the answer to three "simple" questions: 1) how much money

BUENOS AIR 00001316 002 OF 002


will be available; 2) how quickly will funds be disbursed; 3) how
much will be directed towards adaptation vs. mitigation. "If
funding and technology are available," he said, "we can move
forward." Merega stressed that funding should be available not
only to poor countries but also to mid-level developing countries.
She reiterated her opposition to an international registry of
actions, when the U.S. is "still incapable to commit to actions
through domestic legislation."

---------------------------------------

COMPOSITION OF THE ARGENTINE DELEGATION

---------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Asked about the composition of the Argentine delegation,
Merega said she will be leading the delegation for the first week.
Secretary Bibiloni will join her in Copenhagen for the second week,
followed by Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana for the last four days.
She added that it is possible, but not yet confirmed, that
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner would attend the last
couple of days of the COP.

-----------------------------------

COMMENT: IT ALL COMES DOWN TO MONEY

-----------------------------------

6. (SBU) The message from Argentina's Environment Secretary and
Lead Climate Change Negotiator was unambiguous. The GOA's position
remains unchanged. Our interlocutors doubt the USG's ability to
deliver emissions cuts because domestic legislation is still
pending, and they question our commitment to assist mid-level
developing countries because no specific amounts or mechanisms have
been proposed. "It all comes down to money," as Bibiloni commented
as he wrapped up the meeting.

MARTINEZ
MARTINEZ

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