I don't know a lot about Todd Stern, who is expected to lead the envoy, but he worked in the Clinton administration and was involved in the Kyoto Protocol negotiations in the 90s. Hopefully not signing the Protocol wasn't his idea, and we'll see more progress on that front in this administration. From the looks of some of his articles online, I'm thinking we can expect to see great progress.
The White House blog also announced that President Obama signed a two memos today that deal with energy independence and climate change. The first directs the department of transportation to raise CAFE standards (fuel efficiency standards) for 2011 model cars. The second memo will allow California and 12 other states to raise their emissions standards higher than the national standard. I applaud this decision, and am curious to see how it plays out- what kind of challenges still lay ahead of states trying to lead the way for energy efficiency, and how much will the oil and auto industries fight back? We'll have to wait and see- but I've never been more hopeful in my life that progress is upon us.