GLENN THRUSH writes for Politico,
COPENHAGEN — Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is tired of the world telling the Senate what to do — so he spent his brief stopover Wednesday at the U.N. climate conference telling the world what it can do for the Senate.
In a speech that was part climate-change pep rally, part lecture on America’s legislative political dynamics, Kerry argued that he needs a strong political settlement at COP-15 to jolt the Senate into action on its moribund cap-and-trade bill.
“Some of my colleagues in Washington … remain reluctant to grapple with a climate crisis mostly measured in future dangers, when they’re confronted every day with the present pain of hardworking people in a tough economic time,” the Foreign Relations Committee chairman said, referring to coal- and factory-state Democrats who view carbon caps as job-killers.
“To pass a bill, we must be able to assure a senator from Ohio that steelworkers in his state won’t lose their jobs to India and China because those countries are not participating in a way that is measurable, reportable and verifiable,” he added.
“Every American — indeed, I think all citizens — need to know that no country will claim an unfair advantage.”
Despite the challenges, the veteran climate change advocate is still sticking with a relatively optimistic timeline, saying he thinks the Senate can pass a bill next year similar to the one rammed through the House —possibly as early as June, a month or two after the deadline former Vice President Al Gore proposed in Copenhagen earlier in the week.
Kerry’s desire to drive a hard bargain with China and India is in line with the stance of the U.S. delegation and its lead negotiator, Todd Stern.
While developing nations focus on President Barack Obama’s relatively modest emissions-cut pledge, Stern’s team has pushed for greater international verification of greenhouse gas output in China and India — two of America’s largest commercial and industrial competitors.