ABC News' Jennifer Duck reports: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Todd Stern as the special envoy for climate change. Clinton called the issue a "complex, urgent and global threat."
"From rapidly rising temperatures to melting Arctic icecaps, from lower crop yields to dying forests, from unforgiving hurricanes to unrelenting droughts, we have no shortage of evidence that our world is facing a climate crisis," Clinton said pointing to the environmental, economic, energy and national security issues that envelop climate change.
After endorsing President Obama's morning announcement on fuel efficiency , Clinton explained, "If we are smart and bold, we can turn the climate crisis into an economic opportunity that creates jobs, generates growth, enhances our competitive edge and ensures greater prosperity in the 21st century."
The new envoy is no stranger to the topic or the Secretary. He served for eight years in the Clinton administration focusing on climate issues and was the chief U.S. negotiator at the Kyoto Protocol negotiations.
Stern took the lectern after Clinton saying, "Our scientists are telling us emphatically that the rate at which we're warming the planet is unsustainable, and will cause vast and potentially catastrophic damage to our environment, our economy and our national security. And so the challenge before us is great, but so is the opportunity."
"The time for denial, delay and dispute is over," he added. "The time for the United States to take up its rightful place at the negotiating table is here."
Stern explained the need for global cooperation. "Eighty percent of greenhouse gas emissions are produced outside the United States, and a rapidly growing percentage is produced in emerging market countries," he said.