Defying all predictions, the United States delegation at the United Nations climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, appears to have successfully blocked agreement on specific emissions-reduction targets so far. Europe and many developing nations have called for cuts of 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020 to avoid the effects of catastrophic warming, but in the face of U.S. opposition to anything meaningful, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that setting specific targets now “may be too ambitious.” The lead U.S. negotiator implied that targets, if they were allowed, might lead to — gasp! — actual cuts. “The reality in this business is that once numbers appear in the text, it prejudges the outcome and will tend to drive the negotiations in one direction.” And we can’t have that. However, U.S. state and local leaders began arriving at the Bali conference this weekend to give the world another glimpse of U.S. attitudes toward emissions cuts. Al “Nobel Laureate” Gore is also expected to make an appearance.
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