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An important step in global efforts to combat global warming

Comments on Frank Jotzo “US: Waxman-Markey Bill changes the landscape of international climate change negotiations “, 2/07/2009, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/07/02/us-waxman-markey-bill-changes-the-landscape-of-international-climate-change-negotiations/

While it is important to have a more admirable and larger target for 2020, it is much more important to have the US to act and get it into an international agreement as the first step of global actions. In this sense, people may care little about the specific target of the US for 2020, given its long term target of 80% reduction of the 2005 level by 2050.

Without the US in action, there is little chance of success in any global actions, given that it is the world largest economy and its share of global emissions.

US actions are critical in persuading developing countries to join international actions to combat global warming, although how to involve them is important. There are complex issues of effectiveness, efficiency and equity involved. Differential timing and targets may be essential to the success of such efforts.

If the US doesn’t join the international community to reduce emissions, how can one expect that developing nations should take actions in doing that?

The US, together with Australia, has been a stumbling block to the Kyoto Protocol in the past. It has hampered international efforts and actions. So let’s hope that the Waxman-Markey bill will pass the US senate and becomes law. It will mark a new beginning in the global effort to tackle global warming.

Once a meaningful international agreement is reached, the signal it sends to governments and businesses is important. Innovations by the private sector will create new energy technologies, or reduce the costs of green energy technologies.

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