The US will not sign the global climate treaty at Copenhagen next month till the Senate passes a Bill on reducing domestic carbon emissions, thus, raising question over the possibility of an agreement.
“We have to make sure that history does not repeat itself. We have to get clearance from the Senate,” US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said while interacting with students after delivering a lecture on ‘Meeting the Energy and Climate Challenge’ at IIT-Delhi on Friday.
The US, which is the world’s second-biggest polluter, had agreed to the Kyoto Protocol— the existing global climate treaty — in 1995, but the Senate rejected it in 1996, thus, stopping its implementation in the US.
A new bill, the Kerry-Boxer legislation, which aims to cut fossil-fuel emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 per cent by 2050, is now pending before the Senate, where the Republicans are in a majority.
So, the Democratic Obama administration may find it difficult to get it through.
Chu’s statement may weaken the bid to have an global agreement at Copenhagen, where world leaders will meet from December 7-18 to agree on a climate change deal. The Kyoto Protocol is valid till 2012.
Chu reiterated the stand of the rich nations that an agreement would be possible only if developing countries agree to binding emission cuts. India and China have already rejected this demand. “Developing countries cannot say climate change is not their problem. They will be the major emitters in future,” he said, adding: “We have to find a way to help each other”.