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US Won’t Block Climate talks in Bali

Turns out somebody in the US wants to talk climate change. US delegates to a UN climate conference suggested they will not be a roadblock to a new international agreement aimed at reducing potentially catastrophic greenhouse gases, but refuse to endorse mandatory emissions cuts. Many governmental delegations at the meeting in Bali see mandatory cuts as crucial for reining in rising temperatures.

Faced with melting polar ice and worsening droughts, delegates from nearly 190 nations opened the two-week conference with pleas for a new climate pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. That deal required the 36 signatories to cut emissions by 5 percent.

A key goal of the conference will be to draw in a skeptical United States, now the sole industrial power that has refused to rafity the Kyoto Protocol, citing fears it would hurt the U.S. economy because cuts aren’t required of rising economies like those in China and India.

The US repeatedly defended their refusal to embrace emission caps after Australia’s new prime minister signed papers Monday to ratify the 1997 Kyoto agreement – reversing the decision of his nation’s previous, conservative government. We for one side with the US (a bit). Actually no, we side with Canada. The impact Kyoto will have on the overall environment will be nil (from a Canadian contribution standpoint) because the major producers like India, China, and US won’t participate.

The UN knows no pact can be effective without the Americans, and the European Union said it expected the U.S. delegation to play a constructive role in the days to come.

In Bali one of the most contentious issues are whether emission cuts should be mandatory and how much up-and-coming economies like China and India should have to rein in their skyrocketing emissions. Of course, this won’t happen in the ever expanding industries.

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