Given President Trump’s momentous decision to leave the UN Paris Agreement, you would think that the State Department would send Trump people to the Bonn climate summit to represent US interests. You would be wrong. The US climate negotiator holding the top UN position there is an Obama hack named Andrew Rakestraw.
Rakestraw is an official co-facilitator in the Bonn COP talks, the only US delegate to hold such a high position. In UN-speak this is the equivalent of a Committee Chairman. As with laws in the US Congress, draft rules for implementing the Paris Pact are first developed by standing committees, which the UN euphemistically calls “informal consultations.” These informal consultations produce very formal proposed rules.
Each informal consultation is led by two co-facilitators, one from a developed country (where the vast Paris Pact money is supposed to come from) and one from a developing country (where these huge sums are supposed to go). Andrew Rakestraw is co-facilitator of the Transparency Framework, along with Xiang Gao from China. Transparency here means who is giving what money to whom under the so-called “financial mechanisms” of the Paris Agreement.
Rakestraw’s radical green ideology is clear from his background, which is relatively recent since he only graduated with a law doctorate about six years ago. His subject was environmental law, at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Hastings is a very green law school, as you might expect given its location. It boasts about how its environmental law concentration is “helping save the planet” (via global green domination) and about its close ties with radical environmental groups. In fact, Rakestraw blogged for the radical Earthjustice while he was there.
One of his first jobs was as Deputy Voter Protection Director at Obama for America. He was also a Fellow at the US House of Representatives very green Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition. Under Obama he first joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office Environment Unit as a law clerk but then became a climate negotiator at the State Department. His focus has been the Paris Agreement, which Obama takes credit for and he is certainly an Obama man not a Trumper.
Prior to Trump’s announcement of withdrawal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson argued that the US should stay in, in order to protect US interests. To a degree Tillerson got his wish, because the US is stuck in for now. But Andrew Rakestraw is certainly not the person to protect US interests. He is clearly a radical Obama era green and a friend of the Paris Pact fiasco. I doubt that Tillerson had anything to do with keeping him on.
More likely the State climate change group is simply defying the Trump Administration. This is similar to the way the US Global Change Research Program has defied the new Administration by issuing its wildly alarmist Climate Science Special Report.
Here is the semi-official synopsis of how the Transparency Framework informal consultation meeting went on Saturday, November 11, 2017. There is no hint of Trump policy here, especially since this is all about climate-based financial flows from developed to developing countries, which Trump rejects. (Sorry for the UN-speak but this is how things go in UN COPs.)
“Informal consultations co-facilitated by Xiang Gao (China) and Andrew Rakestraw (US) met twice in the afternoon. In the first session, the co-facilitators invited countries to address Section G and H of the preliminary material document on the facilitative multilateral consideration of progress and technical expert review (TER). Many countries expressed concern that their submissions had been incompletely or inaccurately captured, and identified missing elements. In the second session, the co-facilitators invited countries to address Section F on support needed and received. Several countries identified missing elements and opportunities for streamlining. A country group expressed concern about the process, emphasizing that comments and edits should, at this time, be limited to countries own submissions. Several parties responded that urgency impelled them to speak about both their own material and that of others. Two parties argued that support registered in the transparency framework must be agreed by both providers and receivers to be aimed exclusively at meeting Paris Agreement obligations. Countries mandated the co-facilitators to prepare an informal note as soon as possible and solicit countries reactions in informal consultations on Monday, 13 November.” (“Informal note” is UN-speak for a draft document.)
Clearly the Obama greens are still in place in the US Government and they are actively defying, not hiding. This must change. When it comes to the Paris Agreement, Andrew Rakestraw has to go. We need true Trump people sitting at the Paris Pact table. An Earthjustice blogger does not fit this job description.
Shortly after taking office, Secretary Tillerson quickly changed the State Department’s climate change website, getting rid of the alarmism. He needs to change the Paris Agreement negotiating team in the same way.