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European Union: U.S. Prospects for Signing Climate Treaty Looking Up

10/05/09

–Keelin Kelly

During a press conference with the EU at the UNFCCC’s Bangkok meeting several reporters asked if the U.S. was stalling the negotiating process or if it would “murder” the proposed treaty. The EU representatives were of course very politique in their responses. However, they did seem genuinely optimistic about the prospects of the U.S. consenting to a new treaty.

However, they did note that the U.S. not being part of the KP was a problem because the KP negotiates very important issues that they U.S. has no say in. They attributed this problem to the “system,” and not the U.S. This is interesting though because the U.S. has no say in the KP because it did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Therefore, it does appear the U.S. is to blame for this hang up, and not just the system.

Nevertheless, the EU did think the U.S. appears more poised now than ever before to sign a new treaty for two reasons. The first reason the cited was the fact the proposed piece of climate change policy in the U.S. Congress, the American Climate Change and Securities Act (ACES), looks a lot like the Kyoto system or a system that a new treaty would put in place However, I wonder if the EU dignitaries are a bit too optimistic about ACES. Yes, it does resemble the Kyoto system, but if it will ever escape the U.S. Senate still intact is anyone’s guess.

Second, they argued the fact developing nations are announcing their own targets is a good indicator that the U.S. will sign a new treaty. This is because developing nations creating reductions targets takes away the prevalent objection in the U.S. pertaining to international climate treaties—not all countries are held accountable by the treaties. This “sea change” in the position by developing nations that the EU dignitaries spoke of perhaps is a legitimate reason why the U.S. may be more likely to sign onto the product on COP-15.

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