The Washington Times-organized briefing at the Willard Hotel in Washington on November 4 certainly started under the ambitious title ”Advancing the Global Debate over Climate Change Policy.” With a heavy representation of the Republican side, the briefing seemed to offer a chance to hear these representatives’ proposals on how to move the discussions on climate protection forward in the run-up to the Copenhagen conference. But instead of advancement, their debate rather reflected the logjam that Washington seems to have gotten used to.

While representatives from the American Farm Bureau Association or the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association and Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) alike recognized the importance of reacting to climate change, they failed to deliver solutions on how to  precisely decrease emissions in their view. Instead, they repeated that they disagree with the (according to a range of environmental, social and religious organizations) already heavily loophole-destructed cap-and-trade system currently under discussion in the Senate.

tower[1]The ‘no-sayers’ statements were intercepted when Charles Ebinger from the Brookings Institution reminded the conference of the realities in many regions across the globe, where India is building a wall to stop climate refugees from Bangladesh, and where the Himalayan Glaciers are melting, threatening millions of people’s water supplies. But it did not take long for many speakers to resume the statements on why not to take action.

Just 30 days before the Copenhagen climate-negotiations, what are decision-makers waiting for? David Bookbinder of the Sierra Club as well as Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) reminded the participants of the Environmental Protection Agency’s responsibility to act with emission regulation measures if the U.S. Congress fails to agree on sufficient measures. Is this going to become the only credible response to the ongoing blockade and the continued creation of loopholes in the climate bill?

To conclude, however, the set-up of the briefing did not allow for any further discussion of this and other questions of how to act against climate change. The only two speakers in the final panel were Czech President Vaclav Klaus and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who are both known for their denial of human-induced climate change. It must be considered irresponsible and far from non-partisan practice of the Washington Times to select just two speakers, who are both repudiating the broad scientific consensus on climate change and who are neither representative of the EU, nor the Congress view.

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