Kerry Remains Optimistic (For Next Year)

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) spoke yesterday at the COP15 Climate meeting in Copenhagen and was optimistic that progress has been made both in the U.S. and in climate negotiations underway here. He said that the next 12-24 hours will be crucial and that "success in Copenhagen is really critical to the success next year in the U.S. Senate." Kerry is co-author with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on the climate bill pending in the Senate which will be considered next spring. Furthermore, he is working with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) on passage of the legislation. "Our bill is a jobs bill," Kerry said. "It will unleash a technology revolution in the U.S." Kerry recognizes that significant obstacles still exist to a full fledged (binding) treaty. Financing from rich countries for emission reductions by poor countries will be required, but such financing will be contingent on a mechanism for verifying actual emission reductions. "It is imperative for us to help the other countries so they can reduce their emissions," he said. Senator Kerry also recognizes that the climate debate is yet to be fully resolved in the U.S. When challenged as to why he is relatively optimistic, Kerry shot back, "I will tell you right now 100% that we will pass legislation to reduce emissions." He said one of his reasons for optimism is "everybody in America wants energy independence." But he said that the only way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to price carbon. Kerry added that the exact mechanism of how to "price carbon" is still under debate, whether it will be a carbon tax, cap-and-trade, or strictly by regulations. With heads of state now arriving in Copenhagen, it is time for some of the details to be unveiled. Kerry seemed to imply that he does not really expect a binding treaty at Copenhagen, but rather continued negotiations with a full fledged treaty possible by June or July, 2010.

Author: Jerry Schnoor

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