With Barack Obama, John McCain or Hillary Clinton becoming President of the United States, there is hope that the USA could adopt bold legislation to fight global warming in 2009. Albeit with differences, all three have backed serious legislative proposals and indicated their desire to engage actively in international negotiations.
However, a Democratic President may find it difficult to forge a bipartisan consensus, while the Republican candidate has proposed legislation that does not meet the standards defined as appropriate by scientists to fight climate change effectively.
Nevertheless, overall, all three candidates’ plans compare favorably with the EU’s. This provides a unique opportunity to bridge the transatlantic gap on the issue and present a common front, by seeking convergence between US and EU efforts, both internally and vis-à -vis the rest of the world.
In this perspective, if EU governments want to ensure that a global treaty sees the light of day at the end of 2009 and wish not to provide ammunition for those in the USA wanting to dilute eventual US legislation, and if they wish to bring developing countries on board, they should encourage American efforts by sticking to required targets and not dither on their own commitments. They should also encourage parallel examination of legislation, as time required to reach an agreement on a post-Kyoto treaty is very short. They also be well advised to refrain from talking about “border adjustments” before 2010.