Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

US Senate deals blow to global climate talks

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) July 24, 2010
A year and a half after President Barack Obama breathed new life into global talks on a climate treaty, the United States is back in a familiar role -- the holdout.

The Senate's decision Thursday to shelve legislation on climate change is certain to cast a long shadow over December's meeting in Cancun, Mexico that will work on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Obama's Democratic allies acknowledged they lacked votes to approve the first-ever US plan restricting carbon emissions blamed for global warming. The task is unlikely to get easier soon, with Democrats facing tight congressional elections in November.

"This is going to change the mood dramatically in terms of what countries are willing to put on the table in Cancun," said Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which backs action to curb global warming.

"This will seriously downplay what we can realistically achieve."

Obama vowed to act on climate change when he was elected president, sharply reversing course from his predecessor George W. Bush, who was a sworn foe of the Kyoto Protocol, which he considered biased against wealthier countries.

Obama's climate negotiators enjoyed rousing welcomes when they arrived on the scene -- especially from the European Union, Kyoto's most enthusiastic champion.

The State Department, which leads international negotiations, said the Obama administration still considered climate a "priority" and would engage with other countries and with Congress.

"This is a global challenge and we have to resolve it through global cooperation and joint action by all of the key countries and key emitters. We are one of them," agency spokesman Philip Crowley said.

"And central to our ability to do our part is passing climate and energy legislation."

The clock is ticking on sealing a new treaty, with the Kyoto Protocol's obligations for rich nations to cut emissions expiring at the end of 2012.

Climate talks, including the contentious Copenhagen summit in December, have been plagued by fighting between wealthy and developing nations, which are both looking for clear commitments from the other side.

Major emerging nations have resisted any legally binding requirements to cut emissions and pressed first for industrialized powers to seal their commitments.

"Countries like China and India are not likely to commit to any sort of binding obligation if the US is not part of the discussion, part of the negotiation and makes some similar commitment," said Daniel Fiorino, an expert on environmental politics at American University.

While the United States may be the most visible holdout, other major developed nations have also grappled with controversy on climate change, a major issue ahead of Australia's August 21 elections.

Arabinda Mishra, a climate expert at India's Energy and Resources Institute, said the lack of an international treaty "has a real danger in domestic will" in his country to invest political capital on fighting global warming.

The Obama administration has authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon, potentially offering a way to meet US promises at Copenhagen to curb emissions by 17 percent by 2020 off 2005 levels.

But without Senate action, it would be difficult for the United States to meet another promise -- to contribute, along with the European Union, Japan and other rich nations, to a 100 billion-dollar fund to help poor nations cope with climate change.

Climate legislation was passed by the House of Representatives last year, but Republican lawmakers have strongly opposed it, rejecting Obama's arguments that a green economy would create jobs.

"We're still facing a very weak economy and we're still facing questions on the cost of any meaningful reduction," said Ben Lieberman, an energy expert at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think-tank.

"It's pretty clear that no post-Kyoto treaty is in the making -- certainly not in Cancun, and maybe not ever."

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Climate Science News - Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

U.S. agency to look at climate change
Washington (UPI) Jul 22, 2010
The Obama administration's planned national climate service will equip decision-makers with hard facts about long-term environmental changes instead of long-term research, the service's provisional director said. "There's a purpose to what we're trying to do and it's driven by the needs of society to live effectively in the environment we have, both the natural environment and the built ... read more

Haiti's homeless on the move again as hurricanes loom

Wildfire Prevention Pays Big Dividends In Florida

Asia security forum to boost regional disaster relief

Voodoo rite draws Haitian faithful praying for comfort

Tablets may allow a 're-set' for news industry: News Corp.

ISRO Training Next Generation Of Stargazers

HP dabbling with Windows 7 tablet computer

Sharp to join e-reader business war

Warmer Climate Entails Increased Release Of Carbon Dioxide By Inland Lakes

African lake warmest in 1,500 years

Jordan River too polluted for baptisms: eco group

Stormwater Model To Inform Regulators On Future Development Projects

Satellite giving scientists 'ice' insights

Himalayan ice shrivels in global warming: exhibit

Footloose Glaciers Crack Up

Arctic Climate May Be More Sensitive To Warming Than Thought

Russian farmers suffer 'catastrophe' in baking summer

Australia targets China's new 'wine class'

Wacky Weather Could Squeeze Florida's Citrus Season

Better Control Of Reproduction In Trout And Salmon May Be In Aquaculture's Future

New China floods feared as Yangtze swells

Typhoon Chanthu lashes flood-hit China

Singapore flood response not sufficient: Lee Kuan Yew

One dead, dozens injured in southern Iran quake: reports

Rapid Losses Of Africa's Native Livestock Threaten Continent's Food Supply

E.Africa in drive to develop neglected drylands

Chad: No arrest for indicted Sudan leader

Nigeria's oil spills dwarf gulf disaster

New Hypothesis For Human Evolution And Human Nature

Studies: Human evolution still going on

Facebook membership hits 500 million mark

The Friend Of My Enemy Is My Enemy

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement