Senator John F. Kerry is praising negotiators in Cancun, Mexico, for agreeing to a package of measures designed to advance the battle against global warming.
“The outcome in Cancun lays a foundation for continuing negotiations by which the global community can respond to climate change,'' the Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement yesterday. "Most importantly, it anchors the commitments to greenhouse gas reduction that the major economies made last year in Copenhagen, and makes emissions reduction efforts more transparent, builds confidence that pledges will be carried out, and creates a framework to reduce emissions from deforestation.
Some countries have called the agreement, forged this past weekend, too weak because it includes only incremental steps that are not legally binding. Many environmentalists and diplomats, however, say the pact resuscitates a worldwide process to monitor and eventually cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Among its provisions, the deal creates another fund to help poor countries adapt to climate change and strengthens the emissions reductions pledges from the last UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen. Negotiators hope the deal leads to a more comprehensive pact at next year’s climate conference in South Africa.
Kerry, who led an exhaustive but ultimately unsuccessful effort in the Senate to pass a comprehensive climate change and energy bill this year, called on the United States to once again become a leader in the effort to prevent global warming.
"The United States needs to get back in the game today instead of being held back by obstructionism and broken politics at home, which have hurt us not just in the race to address climate change, but which have set us back in the race to define the clean energy economy and all the good jobs that come with it,” he said.
He also warned that the Environmental Protection Agency must be allowed to regulate carbon emissions, a stance many Republicans and industries reject as a potentially destructive overreach of government that threatens the economy and the pocketbooks of ratepayers.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.