Gordon Brown’s bid to lead world on global warming

Geoffrey Lean
London Telegraph
Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gordon Brown yesterday bid to lead the world in tackling global warming by launching a groundbreaking initiative to set up a 100bn dollar-a-year fund, rescuing deadlocked international negotiations on a new climate treaty.

In a landmark speech in London the Prime Minister publically broke with the position of other developed countries by proposing that they provide “around 100 billion dollars” (£60bn) a year to help developing nations combat climate change and adapt to its effects.

It would be used to help fund their measures both to reduce their emissions of the pollution that causes global warming and to defend themselves against the consequences of increasing temperatures and rising seas.

Such financial aid is one of the key Third World demands in the negotiations, but until now no rich country has been prepared to make a concrete response. It has been one of the main reasons why talks convened by the United Nations – which two weeks ago concluded their second abortive session so far this year in Bonn, Germany – have so far failed to make progress.

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Boxer faces 'challenge of a lifetime' on climate change bill

WASHINGTON — If the Senate doesn't pass a bill to cut global warming, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer says, there will be dire results: droughts, floods, fires, loss of species, damage to agriculture, worsening air pollution and more.

She says there's a huge upside, however, if the Senate does act: millions of clean-energy jobs, reduced reliance on foreign oil and less pollution for the nation's children.

Boxer is engaged in her biggest sales job ever. The stakes couldn't be higher as she faces one of the toughest high-profile acts of her lengthy career: getting Congress to sign off on historic legislation to lower greenhouse-gas emissions.

"For Barbara Boxer , it's both the opportunity and a challenge of a lifetime," said Frank O'Donnell , the president of Clean Air Watch .

As the Senate's top-ranked environmentalist, Boxer heads the influential committee that began hearings on the issue this week. She's aiming to get her panel to pass a bill by the end of September. For months now, she's been meeting with senators one on one and hosting a group of about 30 senators for "Tuesday at 12" meetings to develop a strategy to win 60 votes, enough to overcome a Republican filibuster.

With a House of Representatives bill already approved, all eyes are on Boxer, who must overcome plenty of skepticism on Capitol Hill among her fellow Democrats.

"It's going to be a tough slog, but I'm excited about it. . . . I know that my Republican colleagues are going to try to do everything to stop it and distort it," Boxer said Friday in an interview.

Last year, Boxer's standalone climate-change bill fell to defeat, but there's a new strategy this year that will make it harder for senators to reject it. Six committees — Environment and Public Works, which Boxer heads, Finance, Commerce, Energy , Agriculture and Foreign Relations — will have jurisdiction over the bill. Those committee heads have been meeting for months with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada , who'll help combine their work into one massive bill this fall.

Boxer said the approach was unlike any she'd experienced since she joined the Senate in 1993, and she predicted that it will simplify passage.

"It's a different dynamic, and it will make it easier," she said in the interview. "There will be so much in this bill. There will be investments in transportation. There will be great opportunities for agriculture. There will be great incentives for energy efficiency. There will be so much in there. There will be help for areas that need flood control. It should have a broader appeal. Having said that, it's all difficult."

While vote counts vary, most observers say that the bill's fate will lie with 15 or so Democratic moderates, many of whom fear that a vote for climate-change legislation could hurt their re-election chances. Boxer is trying to round up some Republican votes to offset opposition from the likes of Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska .


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