The US Senate is critically important for the success of any UN climate agreement. The Senate must vote to sign onto any international agreement of this sort in order for the US to be bound by the agreement. This did not happen with Kyoto (the Senate voted against it 95-0) and so we have not been bound by it’s targets. If this happened again, it is unlikely that much could be accomplished on a global scale.
The cap and trade bill that passed the House and is now in the Senate is very important because the administration has said that it will go into negotiations with what is likely to pass the Senate in mind. So if a cap and trade bill is not passed by then, US negotiators will not be lobbying for as much action as they would be if the bill did pass, because the administration wants the Senate to agree to whatever agreement comes out of the Copenhagen meeting.
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