US SECRETARY of state Hillary Clinton told representatives from 16 major world economies yesterday that the United States is moving quickly to address global warming.
At an international forum on energy and climate change organised by President Barack Obama, Clinton said the US no longer doubts the urgency or magnitude of theproblem.
“The United States is fully engaged and ready to lead and determined to make up for lost time both at home and abroad,” Clinton said at the start of the two-day meeting. “The United States is no longer absent without leave.”
The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change was announced in March by Obama and includes the countries responsible for 75% of the global emissions of heat-trapping gases. Its goal is to lay the groundwork for an international agreement to curb climate-changing pollution by December.
That is when delegates from 175 countries will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, to forge a new treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The Kyoto Protocol required 37 countries to cut emissions by a total of 5% by 2012.
During former president George W Bush’s tenure, the US refused to take part in the Kyoto regime, calling it unfair since it made no demands on rapidly developing economies like China and India.
Outside the State Department yesterday, police arrested seven Greenpeace activists, two of whom had climbed a construction crane and hung a 600-square-foot banner with an image of Earth that read: “Too big to fail. Stop global warming, rescue the planet.”
Clinton told leaders that the US was “working tirelessly” for a successful outcome.
But she acknowledged that there is no sense in negotiating an agreement if it will not have a practical impact in reducing emissions, meaning developing countries such as India and China will now have to be included.
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