EU Climate Chief: No US, No Global Climate Deal


European Union's climate chief Connie Hedegaard via flickr

The world needs a binding, fair, and ambitious climate deal, something that was not accomplished in Copenhagen at the end of last year. The stakes are even higher this year, but the U.S.'s intransigence is making the prospects for a global deal very dim. Don't take my work for it. The European Union's climate chief, Connie Hedegaard, said as much today at a speech at the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development.

"The absence of movement on domestic legislation in the U.S. is without a doubt a key obstacle to progress in the international negotiations."

Like all of us, Hedegaard will no doubt be paying close attention when Sens. Kerry and Lieberman unveil their much anticipated climate bill tomorrow. The legislation is expected to offer an emissions-reduction target in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels in 2020, about four percent below 1990 levels.The EU, by contrast, has committed to 30 percent cuts relative to 1990 levels if other countries act.

No one knows which way the political winds will blow in this election year, but it's certain that the US must put a price on carbon and lay out a plan to reduce global warming causing emissions if a global deal has any chance this December in Cancun.

Hedegaard appears to be far from sanguine on the chances of a bill passing the Senate, but her comments hint that the EU may have to use other pressure points to move the US to action.

"If nothing comes out of that whole exercise [in the Senate], then [the U.S] will hear...from their European friends because we need the Americans to move on this," said Hedegaard. "It's crucial that they get their own legislation done. It's crucial not only to us. It's crucial to the whole pattern in the international negotiations."

More on Hedegaard:
Radical Green Groups Attack Al Gore and the Climate Bill : TreeHugger
Hey United States, Show Us Your 2020 Emission Reduction Target - Climate Talks Enter Home Stretch