US Should Stay Out of Cancun Says Climate Action Group

The U.S. should just stay out of the way of meaningful global carbon reduction agreements like those that will be discussed at the upcoming international climate negotiations in Canun, Mexico. At least, that is the viewpoint of nonprofit climate change organization, Carbonfund.org. The organization is hoping that the countries that do participate will extend the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire in 2012 and agree on a new emissions reduction strategy.

The nonprofit recognizes that in the U.S. carbon legislation will not be enacted under the newly elected House and Senate.  Without the 67 votes in the Senate to actually ratify any deal that the President might negotiate in Cancun, even showing up at the talks is problematic, said the organization.

“The U.S. has been the 800-pound gorilla in the room at climate negotiations,” said Eric Carlson, President, Carbonfund.org. “As the largest global emitter per capita with enormous entourages at the meetings, all attention goes toward the U.S.,” he said.  The country should not make agreements that it can’t stand by, said the organization.  “It’s like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. The world needs to wise up and move the ball to a different field,” said Carlson.

While the conventional wisdom is that not much can happen in Cancun and beyond without the U.S., Carbonfund.org is urging parties to the treaty to move forward. “There are enough potential carbon buyers in the European Union, Japan, Australia and Canada and enough potential carbon sellers in China, India, Indonesia and Brazil to create a robust carbon reduction pact,” said Carlson. Nearly a hundred other smaller countries could also sign onto a global pact.

Carbonfund.org is calling on other countries to take action now, at a minimum by extending the term of the Kyoto protocol, or by taking steps to build on the progress of Kyoto and the voluntary carbon markets. “We have the technical capability and market readiness to transform our global economy to one where clean energy costs less than dirty energy and efficient technology costs less than inefficient technology,” added Carlson. “That is the goal.”

Carbonfund.org highlighted the work of several U.S. states as good examples of carbon reduction strategies being successfully implemented in America.  The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a mandatory, market-based effort to reduce emissions from electricity production by 10 northeast states, including New York. California begins regulating carbon in 2012. Taken together, states with active climate programs would rank among the largest five economies of the world.

“The key to solving climate change is making the market transformation from carbon-intensive fossil fuels to zero-emissions clean energy. This shift is more likely to happen if the U.S. stopped being an obstacle and stayed home from the Cancun meeting and the rest of the world stepped up and made its own deal to cut carbon emissions,” said Carlson.

 

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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