Monday, September 14, 2009

The future of global warming policy

Source: The New York Times | By John M. Broder

The Obama administration’s senior negotiator on global warming warned Thursday that developed and developing nations remained deeply divided in talks on reducing greenhouse gases and that time was running out before United Nations treaty negotiations in December.

The negotiator, Todd Stern, the State Department special envoy on the issue, told a Congressional panel that it was critical that Congress act on proposed energy and global warming legislation to demonstrate the nation’s willingness to play its part in reducing harmful emissions.

“Let me say bluntly that the tenor of negotiations in the formal U.N. track has been difficult,” Mr. Stern told the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming. “Developed countries tend to see an unforgiving problem with potentially grave and irreversible consequences and that cannot be solved without the full participation of developing countries, particularly China and the other emerging market economies.”

Mr. Stern said China, India, Brazil and other rapidly industrializing countries were taking significant unilateral steps to slow the growth of emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to the warming of the planet. He said their efforts in some cases outstripped those of the United States and some other advanced economies.

He said the United States could also pose a major hurdle to the global talks to produce a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 accord that expires in 2012. While the House approved a fairly aggressive climate and energy bill in June, action in the Senate this fall is uncertain at best.

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