US Moves in Right Direction
Byline: andrew whitehead
The G8 summit made climate change a top news story again last week, with more key international meetings in the diary over coming months.
Although the critical climate talks in Copenhagen in December seem far away, the jockeying for moral high ground by national governments has begun. First away was our own government, with binding greenhouse emission targets set out in last year's Climate Change Act.
Last month the government set out its stall with its 'Road to Copenhagen' document, highlighting the UK's priorities for negotiation.
And Gordon Brown has personally waded in with support for a pounds 60 billion annual climate fund to help poor countries deal with climate change.
For industrialised nations like our own, a deal at Copenhagen must mean huge emissions reduction commitments; the UN suggests between 25 per cent and 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
Yet the US still drags its feet. Against the UN target, the landmark Waxman-Markey Bill, passed by the House of Representatives last month, is disappointing.
While mandating national emissions reductions using economy-wide emissions trading and various other policies, the target by 2020 is a 20 per cent reduction in emissions compared to 2005. This means a return to just below 1990 levels - far short of what Kyoto would have required of the US, had it ever ratified it.
Waxman-Markey is nonetheless a step in the right direction. …