News of the WeekClimate Change

Senate Looms as Bigger Hurdle After Copenhagen

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Science  01 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5961, pp. 19-21
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5961.19

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President Barack Obama knew the clock was ticking on reaching a climate-change agreement when he barged into a meeting with the leaders of China, Brazil, India, and South Africa on the last day of the deadlocked U.N. convention in Copenhagen. And while Obama called the 18 December deal he brokered an "unprecedented breakthrough" in getting developing countries to agree for the first time to voluntary reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, he knew that it was missing major components that supporters had sought, ranging from mandatory mitigation targets to deforestation. The so-called Copenhagen Accord didn't even contain a timetable for deciding when to decide. But as hard as it was to negotiate a deal in Denmark, Obama faces an even tougher time in Washington trying to convince the U.S. Senate to pass cap-and-trade legislation. And he's up against another ticking clock: the November 2010 elections that will decide whether his party retains control of Congress.