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Here Comes Climate Change

By Dan Froomkin
12:52 PM ET, 02/20/2009

It sounds to me like we may start hearing more about climate change soon.

Here's what President Obama had to say on the subject at yesterday's joint news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper: "We have to complete our domestic debate and discussion around these issues. My hope is, is that we can show leadership so that by the time the international conference takes place in Copenhagen that the United States has shown itself committed and ready to do its part."

Juliet Eilperin writes in The Washington Post about the "daunting tasks the new administration faces as the world scrambles to forge a new climate-change treaty this year: trying to persuade emerging economies to make deep cuts in greenhouse-gas releases that they have long resisted while coaxing Congress to adopt first-ever limits on the United States' own emissions.

"These two challenges, which are key to securing a deal when climate negotiators convene December in Copenhagen, mean that President Obama and his deputies must launch a major push abroad and at home on an issue that President George W. Bush only reluctantly addressed...

"Adopting climate targets that will satisfy other countries entails persuading Democrats and Republicans from the nation's mid-section -- where fossil fuels, manufacturing and automobiles are pivotal to the economy -- to approve legislation that will drive up energy prices, at least in the short term. Many Republicans oppose any mandatory carbon cap, so the administration will have to expend significant political capital to win the necessary votes."

H. Josef Hebert writes for the Associated Press: "Saying it's time to 'take a whack' at climate change, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he plans to push for Senate action on global warming by the end of summer.

"The Nevada Democrat in an interview with The Associated Press said the Senate will take up energy legislation in a couple of weeks 'and then later this year, hopefully late this summer do the global warming part of it.'"

Over at NiemanWatchdog.org, where I am deputy editor, Eric Pooley writes that, if there's to be any chance of a climate bill passing before the talks in Copenhagen, Obama needs to make clear right now what sort of climate-change legislation he's looking for -- not by wading into the all the minutiae, but by explaining to the American people why a climate bill is important and what basic principles he thinks should guide it.

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