Kyoto opponent Hagel may ally with Blair for new climate agreement

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s efforts to cajole the U.S. into doing something about climate change — and shake off his rep as a Bush “poodle” — may have found an ally in Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.). Hagel met with Blair this week in London at the PM’s request to discuss the kinds of initiatives the countries could agree on. The senator, a prominent opponent of the Kyoto Protocol, said he wanted the U.S. to be seen as helping, not just hindering, efforts to combat climate change, adding, “At a time when America is often seen as a bully, and its standing is as low as it’s been since World War II, we should find ways to be seen as a solution to problems.” No details of the possible cross-Atlantic initiatives were offered, but Hagel said he expects to introduce legislation focusing on investment in clean-energy technology for export to developing nations and tax incentives for eco-friendly business practices — rather than Kyoto-style regulatory or carbon-trading systems.