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Road to Copenhagen Runs Through Barcelona, Wash., D.C.

At this week's U.N. climate talks in Barcelona, a big showdown is brewing between the rich countries and the Global South. The dispute boils down to whether the rich countries ("Annex 1 countries" including the USA) have made strong enough commitments heading into Copenhagen.

If the Annex 1 countries, who have profited from industrial pollution for decades, have missed their Kyoto targets, how can they now demand low-income nations dramatically reduce their emissions? Here's more on that issue.

The dispute led to a brief walkout. But, African nations are now back at the table.

Meanwhile, back at home…

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the U.S. Congress today, sharing her hopes that an agreement could be reached in Copenhagen:

We have no time to lose. Today's generation needs to prove that it is able to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and that, in a sense, we are able to tear down walls of today.

Not a bad message from a conservative party leader.

Less positive news today came when Republicans boycotted a Senate committee session on the proposed Kerry-Boxer climate bill.

Only one Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee—Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio—showed up. Two members of the minority party are needed for a quorum. The goal, it seems, is to halt progress on a climate bill.

Republicans are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency do a sweeping economic analysis of the Kerry-Boxer bill before moving forward. But just last Friday, EPA said the agency had agreed "to conduct a full economic modeling of the bill that will be voted on by the full Senate."

Senator Barbara Boxer was unimpressed with the committee Republicans' grandstanding:

We've taken every step to welcome them to the table. And we're just going to be here every day until they join us. 

Tags:  Copenhagen

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