United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: Conference of the Parties 16

Cathie Adams reporting from Cancun, MX -- The Obama administration told attendees at the UNFCCC COP 16 conference that began on Monday in Cancun, Mexico, that they are “not backing away from their commitments.” Last year in Copenhagen, President Obama committed to not only pass “cap & trade” legislation that would create billions in new taxes, he also joined developed nations in creating a new $30 billion “fast start” global climate fund by 2012 and committed to reduce greenhouse gases in the U.S. by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. The $30 billion commitment is to grow into a $100 billion climate fund by 2020.

The administration may say that they are not backing away from those grandiose commitments, but following the spectacular Republican victories, a.k.a. the Democrats “shellacking,” neither President Obama or his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plan to attend the Mexico meeting. Surely Obama’s ability to spend other peoples’ money has a higher hurdle to clear with the new Republican Congress that must focus on the persistent jobless rate and suffering economy, rather than on increasing taxes and spending more of your hard-earned money. Citing the economy, even Senator John McCain during his campaign backed away from his “cap & tax” scheme.

Liberal non-governmental organizations are ignoring these political realities in Cancun. On Monday, they lobbed an opening salvo calling for last year’s voluntary commitments to become “legally binding.” And they insisted that the “fast start” money be given without conditions and without input by the World Bank because of their simple accountability standards.

We will observe over the next two weeks whether changes in Washington, D.C. and across the country have impacted the international scene too. I will keep you posted as the debates continue.

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