U.S. 2008 election could complicate environment agenda

October 1, 2007

The world’s biggest greenhouse gas polluters are starting to focus on the problem of climate change but one major complication could be the 2008 U.S. presidential election, according to a senior global environmental official.
“Everything is in place … then it is a discussion of political will and whether the U.S. will be playing during that year, that will be very fundamental,” Monique Barbut, chief executive officer of the Global Environment Facility, told the Reuters Global Environment Summit in Washington.barbut.jpg
She oversees $3.2 billion designed to fund projects to mitigate climate change, ranging from switching millions of lightbulbs in China to more efficient ones to stopping a village in Cambodia from cutting down trees.
“The problem is what’s going to come by the end of 2008,” she said. “All the ingredients are there to get a deal and one of the most important ingredients which is there is the fact that now climate change is a problem that any public opinion understands.”
Barbut pointed out that just a few weeks after the November 2008 election is the conference of the parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change — including the United States.
She said one positive sign was a desire by President George W. Bush to have a package of solutions ready by the summer of 2008.
“All those belong to the good ingredients which will allow us to strike a deal,” she said.

— Photo credit: Larry Downing

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