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Will America Take the Lead on Climate Change?
The next chance the U.S. gets to save the day during global climate changed talks, as Obama did in Copenhagen in 2009, will be in France in 2015.
Mark Landler writes that climate change has taken a backseat in both domestic and foreign U.S. policy until recently, with Obama's speech at Georgetown University, announcing cuts in power plant emissions and reiterating the 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020; his California meeting with Xi Jinping of China, resulting in an agreement to reduce the use of hydroflourocarbons; and John Kerry's visit to India, calling for a reduction in emissions in the residential sector through measures like improved air conditioning and announcing a loan-guarantee program to fund the development of clean technologies.
China and India are the world's first and third largest carbon emitters. The U.S. is second and serves as a barometer for the emissions of the other two both in its policy and actual greenhouse effect.
Despite the previous lull and Europe and Australia's independent advances on the issue, during his speech at Georgetown, Obama reiterated that the world looks to the U.S. to lead on climate change, positioning himself to be an actor for change on this front, with Kerry at his side, whether through the U.N. or side deals.