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article image'Yes we can' becomes 'No we can't' for Obama on Copenhagen Talks

By Julian Worker     Nov 15, 2009 in Environment
Attending the APEC summit in Singapore, Barack Obama has backed a plan to put off the tough decisions on climate change until next year at the earliest. These decisions should have been made at the upcoming Copenhagen climate change talks in Denmark.
It seems as though the importance of the Copenhagen climate talks was crucially undermined by the US Senate failing to pass carbon-capping legislation in time. People should really ask the question why all the other countries in the world feel that the US legislation has to be in place before they can agree emissions restrictions?
Why does the world have to wait for the United States? Is it because America is now the world’s only superpower? Or is it due to a lack of political willpower - how many politicians are truly willing to impose policies that could hinder their economies and make them less likely to get re-elected? Do we not have an insurmountable conflict here between the short-term ambitions of politicians and the long-term requirements to stop global warming?
Barack Obama himself chose to try and pass health care reforms before the carbon-capping legislation, showing that national American interests were of a higher priority to him than internationally significant legislation on climate change.
Obama was in Singapore at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. The chairman of the Copenhagen talks, the Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, flew to the APEC talks on November 15th. He pitched the idea to those world leaders in attendance, that the important decisions on emission targets could be deferred until next year, but that Copenhagen could still be useful in setting political targets and outlining non-binding commitments to reduce emissions. The deferral would give the US Senate time to pass carbon-capping legislation.
However, what’s unclear is what will happen if the Senate can only agree carbon-capping legislation that is too low to be of any use? What does the rest of the world do? It really is time for some countries to stop hiding behind the United States and to have the courage to implement their own processes to reduce their own carbon-dioxide emissions. Which politicians will have the courage to do this?
More about Copenhagen, Climate change, Climate talks, Yes can, Obama
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