Posted By Jerry Schnoor on Dec 17, 2009 |Hillary Clinton was a big hit today before a packed crowd of 300 news reporters in the main press hall at the COP15 Climate meeting. She was confident, convincing, and straight-forward while making two points crystal clear: 1) For the first time, she committed the U.S. to do its part towards an ambitious target of international assistance, ramping up to $100 billion per year by 2020, designated for the "poorest and most vulnerable countries" (translation-- not including China); and 2) She emphasized that emission reductions will need to be strictly verified for all participating countries (including China). Clinton admitted that there had been "all kinds of unfortunate discussions and disagreements" during these COP15 negotiations, sometimes about the past as well as the present. But regarding the financing of the agreement, she was clear: "The U.S. will do our part," including both the long term as well as the fast-funding start of $10 billion per year in 2010 and $20 billion/yr by 2012. In answer to a question about "transparency" (verification of emission reductions), Secretary Clinton was emphatic: "If there is not a commitment to transparency, then that is a deal-breaker for the U.S. -- that undermines the whole effort." Clinton set the stage for the arrival of President Obama tomorrow and cast a ray of hope for a successful conclusion of COP15. Most feel a compromise can be reached regarding the transparency of emission reductions that will satisfy both the U.S. and China. The strong commitment of funding is key to bringing along African nations and those most affected by climate change already. President Obama will need to use his personal popularity here and formidable diplomatic skills to hone a final agreement. Most feel the Copenhagen Climate meeting will not end in a full-fledged, binding treaty. More likely, it will result in a political statement and agreement to pursue an operational accord (treaty) next year at COP16 in Mexico City. That's unless Obama can drive in the winning run in Copenhagen tomorrow.