Democratic Platform Pledges Global Treaty on Climate Change

Matt Cover | September 4, 2012 | 5:38pm EDT
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In this Friday, Dec. 17, 2010 file photo, workers cycle past a coal-fired power plant on a tricycle cart in Changchun, in northeast China's Jilin province. (AP Photo)

( The 2012 Democratic Party platform includes a plank promising to pursue a global agreement limiting greenhouse gas emissions, calling climate change “one of the biggest threats of this generation.”

“We will seek to implement agreements and build on the progress made during climate talks in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban, working to ensure a response to climate change policy that draws upon decisive action by all nations,” the platform says.

“Our goal is an effective, international effort in which all major economies commit to reduce their emissions, nations meet their commitments in a transparent manner, and the necessary financing is mobilized so that developing countries can mitigate the effects of climate change and invest in clean energy technologies.”

The international negotiations in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban, were part of an international effort to negotiate the successor to the Kyoto Protocol known as the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), which sought to negotiate a new international treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

The United States rejected the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, when the U.S. Senate voted 95-0 to oppose the treaty, because it could harm U.S. interests – a vote that prompted then-President Bill Clinton to avoid submitting the treaty for ratification. President George W. Bush then withdrew President Clinton’s signature of the protocol.

The new plank in the 2012 Democratic Party platform seems to endorse some of the work of the UNFCC over the past several years, including efforts to establish a global regime of technology and wealth redistribution that would give developing countries technology and money in exchange for signing the new treaty.

This so-called financing mechanism would compensate developing countries whose economies would be hurt by global greenhouse gas emissions standards. In order to compensate these countries, proponents of a new climate change treaty have proposed financial and technology transfers to help mitigate the negative effects of global emissions caps.

Central to the UNFCC effort is establishing a new global cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gasses that would garner the support of the U.S. and developing nations, who had opposed the Kyoto Protocol because they feared it would do significant damage to their economies.

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