Thursday, June 07, 2007

Climate Change: A Friendlier Attitude?

The New York Times reports an incremental change in the U.S. position.

The United States agreed today to “seriously consider” a European proposal to combat global warming by halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, breaking a trans-Atlantic deadlock at a meeting here of the world’s richest industrial nations.

The compromise, hammered out in tough negotiations between the United States and Germany, also endorses President Bush’s recent proposal to gather together the world’s largest emitting countries, including China and India, to set a series of national goals for reducing emissions.

The agreement does not include a mandatory 50 percent reduction in emissions, a key provision sought by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Mrs. Merkel, the host of the meeting, proclaimed it a “huge success.”

After days of discord between Europe and the United States, which had threatened to veto any reference to concrete reductions, the deal amounted to a face-saving compromise for Mrs. Merkel. It also reaffirmed that climate negotiations should take place under the auspices of the United Nations — something else sought by Mrs. Merkel.

It's clear that there won't be any real progress on climate change at the federal level until Bush is out of office. But these incremental steps are a clear sign of just how strong the political pressure for action has now become. Regardless of who wins the next Presidential election, serious federal action now seems all but inevitable.



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