Talking climate in Europe

At the international climate change conference in Poznan, Poland, there is much concern over what role the U.S.

At the international climate change conference in Poznan, Poland, there is much concern over what role the U.S.will play after January 20, 2009. There have been direct messages that the U.S. will play a different role than it has over the past eight years. How significant, asks this blogger, that the US official delegation at this conference is bunkered. No windows, no transparency.

Yet there's widespread worry that the global economic distress will take away any political will to deal with the complexities of climate change.

This conference in Poland is the penultimate step in trying to come up with global agreement to pick up where the Kyoto Protocol expires, that's in 2012. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday he wants to see what he calls a "green New Deal." He sees it combatting climate change and creating greentech jobs in an economic crisis that is now global.

TUSSELS IN BRUSSELS

Further west the leaders of the European Union are meeting in Brussels. They are trying to come up with a climate change policy that will carry the international union of 27 nations into the next phase of climate change politics. Two of the newer EU members are apparently forestalling any compromise. Hungary is broke. Poland is a major coal exporter. They don't want to see any costly or punitive measures right now, thank you. The leaders of both Italy and Germany have also warned they'll not stand for any EU measures that could have negative economic impact in their respective nations.

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