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Copenhagen climate conference - US agriculture pledge

Politically shackled US joins research alliance

Article published on the 2009-12-16 Latest update 2009-12-16 19:01 TU

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger(Photo: Reuters)

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
(Photo: Reuters)

The United States has pledged 60 million euros to research on cutting greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. The announcement, at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen, pits the US with 20 other countries in a venture to pool scientific resources and train researchers in developing countries.

"Just as climate change has no borders, our research should not. Where there is science that will help mitigate climate change, it should be shared with all for whom it could be meaningful," US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday.

The Sierra Club, the United States’ largest grassroots environmental organisation, says the US government is ready to move forward with climate change resolutions, despite being hampered politically.

Regional director Carl Zichella, told RFI the current climate change bill on the table in the US is evidence of political willpower.

Interview: Carl Zichella, Sierra Club

16/12/2009 by Rosslyn Hyams


“It is a very difficult task in the US given the state of the economy and regional politics in the US, which makes it tough to pull together a consensus in Congress for just about anything - much less something as controversial as a climate bill,” Zichella said.

“The House of Representatives has passed a climate bill that has some really robust targets, he said. “But the politics in the US senate are very difficult. In order to overcome procedural hurdles, you need to get at least 60 of 100 votes.”

While the US's national government was stymied on climate change, Zichella said many states had been gathering to pursue climate initiatives. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example, received an award for setting high greenhouse goals as a state policy in California, the eighth largest economy in the world.

Zichella warned that while accomplishments could be made at Copenhagen, it was necessary to look beyond the Danish capital to future climate conferences such as the COP 16 to take place in Mexico City next November.

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