John Kerry: Copenhagen accord needed for Senate to pass climate bill

Sen. John Kerry. Photo: Jeff McMahon

Sen. John Kerry.

COPENHAGEN–The U.S. Senate needs a Copenhagen deal in order to pass a climate bill of its own, Sen. John Kerry said here moments ago, and any Copenhagen deal has to ensure that less developed nations don’t simply replace any carbon emissions that are saved in the United States.

“Success here is critical to success in the United States next year,” he said. “It would be a terrible irony to say the least if we succeeded in understanding (the causes) that have brought us to this crisis and all we did was allow the less developed world to make the same mistakes that we made.”

Emission controls on the developing world have been a major hurdle here. Developing nations want the U.S. and other wealthy nations to pay the cost of their transition to cleaner energy. The U.S. has said it will help, but has yet to express that promise into dollars.

And delegates from the developing world are both suspicious of attempts to limit its growth and resentful because global warming has largely been caused by developed nations.

But Kerry said China will emit 40 percent more greenhouse gases than the U.S. in 2020 and in the future 90 percent of emissions will come from the developing world.

Yet while Kerry insisted that Copenhagen is crucial to a climate bill passing the Senate, he was nonetheless willing to guarantee his climate bill would pass.

“I will tell you right now, here, 100 percent, we’re going to pass major energy/climate legislation that is going to have a major impact on emissions,” he said.

Last week, Kerry and Senators Lindsey Graham  and Joe Lieberman released a framework for just such a bill. Kerry called it the “next jobs bill” in America. He also predicted that America would surpass any emissions limits it commits to “in much more time and with much more ease” than many people think.

Whatever accord is reached in Copenhagen, delegates must meet again “next year early, June or July,” Kerry said, to turn it into a full fledged international treaty.

“The science has been screaming at us since many of us met in Rio in 1992 and the science is still screaming at us, and we’re still waiting for the response. And that waiting is right here in Copenhagen.”

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