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Let the climate keep changing
As Copenhagen failed to deliver, the green campaign got tougher

On September 22, 2009, Barack Obama promised in the United Nations that US is committed to meet climate change obligations. It looked like a shot in the dark then; and it looks the same now.

While a bill was made to impose a mandatory ceiling on greenhouse gases – making it compulsory for factories and plants to reduce emissions by 17% by 2020 from 2005 levels and by 83% by 2050 – it has been stalled in the Senate in favour of healthcare reforms as the lawmakers found the latter to be a more pressing problem for the US. In spite of a Democrat majority in Congress, it is unclear for how long the stalemate will continue, in a scenario where Republicans are even more against it in the context of increased energy cost for US families.

In spite of this political reality, Obama asserted in the UN, “We understand the gravity of the climate threat. We are determined to act. And we will meet our responsibility to future generations.” America was expected to lead the Copenhagen summit, which was vital for its success, as poorer countries like China and India could have been persuaded to follow suit. However, it was not to be, as Obama declared that there could be no binding rules in Copenhagen. The crestfallen Europeans greeted him with scorn for his inability to fulfil his pledge.

Obama had made a commitment to Europeans way back in 2008 when he projected himself as a “citizen of the world”. But when push came to the shove, the perceived harbinger of optimism refused to take the bait and blamed developing nations! Even Bush had discarded the Kyoto Protocol on similar grounds.

Will Obama act in the coming year on for protecting the environment? He really would not, given the fact that pressing concerns related to domestic economic development and foreign relations would take major priority.

By:- Sayan Ghosh

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