UN chief says U.S. is finally listening to urgent call to arms on climate change

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Secretary-General Ban said the September forum on global warming will be one of the most important initiatives in the history of the United Nations, and he intends to use the forum to consolidate and generate firm interntional political will.

In the past, President George W. Bush has been the major holdout, rejecting Kyoto’s mandated curbs in greenhouse-gas emissions because the treaty makes no demand on fast-growing nations such as China and India.

U.S. participation will be key to any new framework on climate change, and Ban has told Japan’s Asahi Shimbun that, due to growing perception and awareness among the international community on global warming, the U.S. has been changing its tune and is expected to be more cooperative.

The U.S. is “going to have another meeting immediately following my meeting here, but I am sure that the U.S. initiatives and meetings will be part of this UN negotiating forum,” Ban said.

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For anyone who is interested, the American Bar Association has just published “Global Climate Change and U.S. Law,” a 784-page multi-author book edited by Michael B. Gerrard. The book sells for $59.95 (minus a discount for ABA members). It will be updated by a web site.

After a summary of the factual and scientific background, the book begins by addressing the international and national frameworks of climate change law, including clean air regulation, civil remedies and the impact of the Kyoto Protocol on many domestic actions. The book then describes emerging regional, state and local actions, and includes a 50-state survey. Next is coverage of issues of concern to corporations, including disclosure, fiduciary duties, insurance, and subsidies. The book ends with an examination of the legal aspects of various efforts to reduce emissions, including voluntary programs, emissions trading programs and carbon sequestration.

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