Saturday, June 20, 2009

European Union Leaders Call For Rich Countries to Help Finance Developing Countries' Climate Change Projects

The European Council, meeting yesterday in Brussels, called again for all countries except the least developed to contribute to the "financing of the fight against climate change in developing countries on the basis of a universal, comprehensive and specific contribution key."

The European Council, made up of the heads of state and government of the European Union's 27 member states, instructed the European Commission to prepare proposals for what such financing would look like in terms of the EU.

The Council's announcement was of no surprise -- the EU has been in the forefront of addressing climate change for a decade now. However, the Council's typically highly aspirational goals were seen once again when it referred to intensifying its bilateral discussions on climate change with several countries including the U.S.

Obviously Brussels and Washington are separated by thousands of miles of Atlantic water. But haven't the European leaders been following the pace of climate change-related legislative discussions in the U.S. Congress? Despite a large Democratic majority in the U.S. House, supporters of the Waxman-Markey energy bill, which includes a carbon cap-and-trade provision, have been pulling their hair out trying to round up the 218 votes necessary to get the bill approved by the House. And this is even factoring in a Democratic president who supports the legislation.

One wonders whether America will go empty handed yet again to the climate talks (set for Copenhagen in December). (And wouldn't this rather reduce Mr. Obama's rock-star image on the continent?) Of course, Mr. Obama could order the EPA to promulgate legislation to reduce carbon emissions but that approach would raise a chorus of hackles.

A mere suggestion: Could the EU outsource its environmental enforcement duties to the U.S. while the U.S. outsources policy-making to the EU? After all, we are in an age of globalization...aren't we?

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