Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told the Reuters Global Environment Summit he sees little hope of getting climate change legislation approved because of stiff opposition from the Bush administration to mandatory curbs on greenhouse gas emissions.
Bingaman also warned that he already was seeing reduced investment in alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power because tax credits set to expire next year had not yet been renewed.
– Photo credit: Larry Downing (Bingaman, center, with Bush in 2005 during an energy bill signing ceremony).
From striving towards acheiving carbon neutrality in New Zealand to switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs in Cuba, what are individual countries doing on a national level to combat climate change?
Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) answers Reuters Correspondent Alister Doyle’s question on Monday at the Global Environment Summit.
The Bush administration miscalculated in believing it could get fast-growing economies like China and India to back voluntary limits on greenhouse gas emissions instead of the mandatory ones many developed countries favor, Eileen Claussen, the president of the Pew Center for Climate Change, told Reuters on Monday during the Global Environment Summit.
Claussen said the United States, and specifically the head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality James Connaughton, erred in assuming that the European Union could be isolated in its push for mandatory limits.
The American Petroleum Institute’s chief economist, John Felmy, discusses how rising gasoline prices have affected the behavior of American consumers while speaking at the Reuters Global Environment Summit.
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.
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
Developing countries need to play a key role in the planning of the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, but may not be ready to commit to nationwide emission caps, Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told Reuters on Monday during the Global Environment Summit.
De Boer speaks with Reuters correspondents Alister Doyle and Gerard Wynn.