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Countdown to Copenhagen

Keith Kloor

Passing climate legislation through the US Senate may be tricky, but that hasn’t scared off the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from doing its part. As Stephen Power at the WSJ’s Environmental Capitol notes:

“Congress might be a long way from passing legislation to fight climate change, but the Obama administration appears one step closer to creating its own regime for controlling greenhouse gases.”

Now the President has said he may even attend the UN conference in Copenhagen —-if a deal is at hand. The AP has the scoop:

“If I am confident that all of the countries involved are bargaining in good faith and we are on the brink of a meaningful agreement and my presence in Copenhagen will make a difference in tipping us over the edge, then certainly that’s something that I will do.”

But if an accord isn’t reached this year, the global climate-change negotiations may be “headed toward the same aimless end” as the notoriously endless ‘Doha round’ of global trade talks, writes Bryan Walsh at Time magazine.

Speaking of something once thought endless, it’s been 20 years since the cold war crumbled in a heap. Now, a certain key historical figure from that time has emerged to implore today’s leaders to “tear down” another kind of wall. In a guest commentary at The Times of London, Mikhail Gorbachev writes:

“Addressing climate change demands a paradigm shift on a scale akin to that required to end the Cold War.”

If there’s going to be such a paradigm shift, it’s safe to say that most environmentalists weren’t betting that the UK would approve a new fleet of “clean coal” and nuclear power stations. As energy secretary Ed Miliband puts it in The Guardian:

“The threat of climate change means we need to make a transition from a system that relies heavily on high-carbon fossil fuels, to a radically different system that includes nuclear, renewable and clean coal power.”

Ready for another puzzler? What’s going on with that Indian government report claiming there is no evidence that global warming has shrunk Himmalayan glaciers? Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the IPCC, is hopping mad over this, and gives The Guardian an earful, and then some.

“We have a very clear idea of what is happening. I don’t know why the minister is supporting this unsubstantiated research. It is an extremely arrogant statement.”

Finally, in the feel-good story of the day, Politico reports that two U.S. political combatants know how to set aside their differences at the end of the day and share warm and fuzzy gifts. "We are really very good friends,” Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer tells Politico, referring to Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, who has called global warming ‘the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.’ Adds Boxer: “It’s a good working relationship we have. People are very surprised about it.”


  1. Report this comment

    Eli Rabett said:

    As has been pointed out multiple times, EPA regulation has always been the hammer that is going to make the Congress take action.

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