Special to dispatch from Mark Hopkins, Director of International Energy Efficiency at the United Nations Foundation

Poznan, Poland — As an American at the [international conference on global climate change in] Poznan, whenever I talk with someone from somewhere else in the world, the first question asked is, “What is Barack Obama going to do on climate?” There is so much anticipation of greater US engagement on the issue and hope it will lead to an effective international agreement. I am hopeful too, but I keep reminding everyone, the Obama folks will be much focused on crafting not only an effective global agreement, but one that can also pass muster in the US Senate.

There is much discussion here about the role of energy efficiency. The International Energy Agency is highlighting recommendations in their recent global energy report on the importance of significantly enhancing deployment of energy efficiency if we are to successfully address the climate problem. Given its importance, there is emerging discussion on the need to somehow more directly incorporate it in a post 2012 agreement. Some are seeing it as a potential “building block” essential to the success of a comprehensive agreement.

I don’t know how other people feel, but I have to compliment the Polish government and the city of Poznan on their hosting this conference. Other than being spread widely in hotel sleeping arrangements (which is almost inevitable given 10,000 plus attendees) the conference facility itself and its management has been really great. I am now sitting in the computer room, which is big, very big – there must be 500 computer terminals in use, with a good internet connection. And the awaiting lines are being well managed by conference staff. Hats of to the Poles.

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