Monday, November 27, 2006

Time to Tighten up the Carbon Trading System

Financial Times, 24 November 2006 - European industry will have to slash its greenhouse gas emissions from 2008 under plans by the European Union to tighten up the carbon trading system seen as a pioneering weapon in the world's battle against climate change.

Next Wednesday, the European Commission will require some member states to cut the number of carbon permits they give companies for the second phase of trading from 2008 to 2012.

Most member states have proposed awarding themselves a generous allocation of permits to lighten their companies' obligations to cut emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Under the scheme, launched in January 2005, companies are issued with permits to emit carbon dioxide. Cleaner companies with spare capacity can sell permits to dirtier businesses needing to emit more.

The scheme is increasingly the focus of international interest as other developed countries take climate change more seriously. However, Brussels must rescue the credibility of the system, which suffered a serious blow this spring when it emerged that member states had given their industries many more permits to emit carbon than they needed for the first phase, which ends on December 31 next year.

This ran counter to the purpose of the scheme – to force companies to reduce emissions by ensuring they have fewer permits than they need, in effect, putting a price on pollution.

Stavros Dimas, environment commissioner, told the Financial Times: “If it appears there are over-allocations, we will adjust to the right numbers.”

He said governments would not be allowed to allocate more permits in the second phase than in the first. Some assessments had suggested the plans submitted by member states were about 15 per cent above the limits required to meet the EU's commitments under the Kyoto protocol, which required a 6 per cent cut in emissions compared with the first phase. Mr Dimas would not say how many would be rejected. “All of the plans have some small things wrong with them,” a senior Commission official told the FT yesterday.

Research by the UK's government-funded Carbon Trust found all member states, except the UK, Spain and Italy, would have to cut emissions by more than they had planned. The report said the countries requiring the biggest revisions were Austria and Finland, while Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France would have to make significant cuts.

The biggest losers are expected to include Germany, which is heading for a showdown with Brussels over a loophole in its carbon trading scheme, which generated windfall profits for its big power producers. The Commission will ask Berlin to remove an exemption for new coal-fired power stations under which stateowned banks will be able to buy extra permits on their behalf for the next 14 years. Mr Dimas believes this amounts to illegal state aid and is among the worst flaws in governments' national allocation plans.

The stakes are high for both sides. Germany argues companies need legal certainty to embark on a new generation of more efficient generators. It also needs to prop up the mining industry of the former East Germany, where jobs are scarce. RWE yesterday announced a €2bn ($2.6bn, £1.35bn) investment in a new coal-fired plant in Saarland, but said any change to emissions trading “would put question marks on these investments”.

Electricity generators, making decisions on power stations that will last for three or four decades, want as much clarity on the future system as possible. Carbon traders want tough curbs to bolster the market.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Canadian Youth Demand more action at Climate Change Negotiation

comprehensive and effective plan for the Canadian public to rally behind.

2. Immediate commitment to negotiate the post-2012 framework.

Canada must agree to and push for a work plan on post-Kyoto targets for developing nations, to be completed no later than 2008. This is to assure that a mandate for the second commitment period can be adopted at COP/MOP 5. Delay beyond this deadline will postpone action by signatories to achieve future targets, thus creating the gap between commitment periods.

3. Adoption of the IPCC “2 degrees Celsius” target in the post-2012 phase.

Climate change is beyond partisanship. Solving this crisis will mean making difficult decisions. Clearly this an issue of political will.

Canada must demonstrate strong leadership in the fight against climate change. A firm goal must be agreed upon by all parties to remain below a 2oC global average rise in temperature above pre-industrial levels. Surpassing this point will bring with it significant and irreversible damage.

It is in the interest of the citizens of Canada to commit to short-term deep reduction targets. We live in a time of unprecedented technology options, and innovative policies. There is no excuse not to push for this stronger and more effective target. Canada must be innovative in its approach to climate change and reemerge as a leader.

The Kyoto Protocol is the only international agreement we have that addresses the threat of climate change – we cannot afford to weaken it now.

Our future is at stake.


The Canadian Youth Delegation to Nairobi


Canadian Youth Demand more action at Climate Change Negotiation

 As part of our long-term strategy to bulid civilian and political leadership at home, the Canadian Youth Delegation issued its “Declaration of Demands at COP 12″ today, in Nairobi Kenya. Recognizing that we are in this for the long haul, Canadian youth picked 3 things that would help move negotiations forward in a positive manner and also asked for a plan that will resonante with the public at home. This is the beginning - we know what we want, and now we will act on it - with your help.

Here is a copy of the text:

Youth Declaration of Demands at COP 12

The global community has acknowledged that the world is facing an unprecedented climate crisis. It is a fact that our generation will face the greatest consequences from climate change. By default, this crisis has become our issue because this is our future. Climate change extends beyond environmental issues – it cuts across all spheres of society thus we must be united in facing the challenge that it presents. This is our future that is at stake.

The Youth are ready to face this challenge, but we cannot do it alone. We are calling for greater action and leadership from our government on climate change. There is no time to waste.

On behalf of the youth of Canada, the Canadian Youth Delegation makes the following immediate demands of the Canadian Government:

1. A public re-commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, specifically meeting our targets from the original 2008 timeline.

The time for leadership is now. The technology and expertise are readily available to reduce emissions and meet our commitments. Government efficiency regulations are necessary in all sectors, in conjunction with mandatory caps that capitalize on market instruments.

The recent actions and statements by the Government of Canada have created confusion and uncertainty over Canada’s position on the Kyoto Protocol. Canada’s recent statements about our inability to meet our current target, and the introduction of the Clean Air Act (Bill C-30) are unacceptable responses to the climate crisis. The government has said that we are unable to meet our targets and has presented a plan that does not sufficiently address the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Solutions start with working towards our targets, not abandoning them.

Currently, Canada emissions are 35% above our Kyoto target. There is no more time to blame former governments for a lack of action.

The Stern review presents a strong economic case for tackling climate change immediately. Delaying action simply enhances impacts and impedes Canada’s long-term economic viability. This is Canada’s opportunity to lead the world into a sustainable energy economy. The solutions are available to us now.

Canadian youth demand a clear and unambiguous commitment, reaffirming Canada’s support of the protocol, and a comprehensive and effective plan for the Canadian public to rally behind.

2. Immediate commitment to negotiate the post-2012 framework.

Canada must agree to and push for a work plan on post-Kyoto targets for developing nations, to be completed no later than 2008. This is to assure that a mandate for the second commitment period can be adopted at COP/MOP 5. Delay beyond this deadline will postpone action by signatories to achieve future targets, thus creating the gap between commitment periods.

3. Adoption of the IPCC “2 degrees Celsius” target in the post-2012 phase.

Climate change is beyond partisanship. Solving this crisis will mean making difficult decisions. Clearly this an issue of political will.

Canada must demonstrate strong leadership in the fight against climate change. A firm goal must be agreed upon by all parties to remain below a 2oC global average rise in temperature above pre-industrial levels. Surpassing this point will bring with it significant and irreversible damage.

It is in the interest of the citizens of Canada to commit to short-term deep reduction targets. We live in a time of unprecedented technology options, and innovative policies. There is no excuse not to push for this stronger and more effective target. Canada must be innovative in its approach to climate change and reemerge as a leader.

The Kyoto Protocol is the only international agreement we have that addresses the threat of climate change – we cannot afford to weaken it now.

Our future is at stake.


The Canadian Youth Delegation to Nairobi


November 15th - High Level Segment begins

November 15, 2006 saw the start of the high level segment. This important part of the meeting started with a speech from UN secretary general Kofi Annan. Proving that there still are still die hard climate change skeptics out there, Annan began by stressing that climate change was not science fiction.

Annan pointed out that that low emissions need not mean low growth. "So let there be no more denial. Let no one say we cannot afford to act. The Nairobi conference must send a clear, credible signal that the world’s political leaders take climate seriously. The question is not whether climate change is happening, but whether, in the face of this emergency we ourselves can change fast enough." Clearly, Anan in his speech was reprimanding countries like the US for not playing a pro-active role in the Kyoto Protocol.

And the US response...

Interestingly, soon after his speech the US delegation had organized a press conference, during which it proudly pronounced that it is trying its best to fight global warming. “The US policy is guided by a multi-dimensional approach. We believe in the power of partnerships. It is building partnerships with nations that have common goals. We firmly believe that public-private partnership is a means to fight climate change. We are happy that we are contributing to addressing climate change,” said Paula Dobriansky, under secretary for democracy and global affairs, the US government. “At COP 12 the US delegation is highlighting the efforts taken by the nation to flight climate change.

Adaptation is important here and the US has already financed such activities in many of the developing countries,” Dobriansky added.

When questioned about the lack of leadership from the US, Dobriansky responded by saying that the US is leading and climate change requires global efforts. All countries must be engaged in the effort. “Our recent election will continue to ensure that climate changer is an important issue. In terms of the congress, they are both people for and against the Kyoto protocol in the democrats and the republicans.

When Down To Earth questioned David Miliband, secretary of state, department for environment, food and rural affairs, UK about the UK’s stand on future commitment periods, he said that his country was willing to take up commitments depending on future circumstances.

Other highlights of the day were the presentation of the Stern report, which focuses on the impacts of climate change. Most delegates welcomed the report, which states that the world would incur huge financial losses if steps are not undertaken soon to contain global warming, and what economic opportunities did action on climate change present for different countries and sectors.

During another plenary session, ministers and heads of delegation from more than 35 nations reinstated their general position where action for fighting climate change was concerned.
Tomorrow’s plenaries would see the adoption of some draft decisions taken by SABTA, AWG, and SBI. Other important that would be discussed is the review of the protocol, which was to be done at this COP


High Level Sigment: Day 2

On November 16, 2006, the joint COP and COP/MOP high-level segment continued; the second workshop of the “Dialogue on long-term cooperative action to address climate change by enhancing implementation of the Convention” also continued.

Informal consultations and contact groups took place on CDM, review of the Protocol (Article 9), the Russian proposal, and the Belarus proposal to join the Kyoto regime. An informal ministerial meeting was held late night to consider a number of these outstanding issues.

On the post-2012 issues, most delegates highlighted the urgency of agreeing on a post-2012 regime, with delegates from developed countries stressing on common but differentiated responsibilities. India said several key Annex I countries had failed in their Protocol commitments, and described calls for developing countries to take on emissions commitments post-2012 as “shrill,” “surreal,” and a threat to poverty alleviation efforts. Belarus urged resolution of its proposal in Nairobi.

Where the adaptation issue was concerned, most developing countries showed an aggressive stand. Many African countries also showed concerns about their poor share in the CDM regime. Several countries highlighted forests’ contribution to addressing climate change, and positive incentives on deforestation.
Regarding the financial mechanism, The developing countries said that GEF should be more responsive to developing country needs and opposed conditionalities in the operation of the climate funds.

India also emphasised sustainable consumption and production, technology transfer and capacity building. The US underscored placing climate change within a broader agenda than just development and poverty reduction, including energy and food security, and air pollution. Australia stressed enabling environments. Parties agreed to ask the COP to request the Secretariat to prepare an analysis on climate-related financial flows.

Contact group and informal discussions

The CDM contact group faced difficulties on three accounts: on relates to carbon capture and storage and the other was about afforestation and deforestation projects, and lastly on the regional distribution and capacity building. On the latter, the outstanding issues were referred to ministers, and the EU accepted an African Group proposal to encourage Annex I parties’ further initiatives, including financial support, for the development of projects, especially in LDCs.

Where the second issue was concerned, The EU dropped its reservation on a matter referring to CDM EB annexes on the eligibility of land for A/R projects, and the text was agreed by the group. Decisions related to carbon capture and storage were deferred to the next COP.

The review of the Protocol (Article 9) was taken up in consultations throughout the day, and in the evening as part of a ministerial meeting. Following Chair Tudela Abad’s introduction of draft text , progress was made on the text, but differences remained on issues including a “confidence” clause specifying that the review will not lead to non-Annex I commitments, and the dates for the next review, with proposals ranging from 2 to 5 years. The text reportedly remained bracketed as of midnight. According to NGOs like Greenpeace and Friends of Earth, it is highly unlikely that a decision is going to be taken where Article 9 is concerned.

They expect the COP 12 to end with at least a mandate set for the revision for the next COP. They are quite disappointed that the most important item on this year’s COP met with no consequences. They are also disappointed that no timeline has been set where the implementation of the draft decision of Article 3.9 is concerned.

Throughout the day meetings were being held to resolve issues related to Article 9 and the Belarus and Russian proposals. But they were still no signs of any agreement on these matters, especially the Belarus proposal of joining the protocol The matter is as hot as the hot air that Belarus may contribute to the Kyoto regime if it joins.


Also our business

“Adaptation is also our business,” was the title of a side even this afternoon put on by members of the EU. The room was packed, and as we sat in rows and sweated, the presenters made some interesting and important points.

According to IPCC predictions, the Mediterranean is going to be one of the areas of the world most affected by climate change. Christina Narbona, Minister of Environment for Spain, pointed out that Spain is already experiencing massive dispalcement of population, severe droughts, a predicted 5-14% decrease in water resources in the 2030 horizon, and is also a developed nation which will be one of the first to receive migrants from Africa if and when the effects of more drastic climate change displaces them. Spain is also one of the only nations to have developed a NAPA (a National Adaptation Plan of Action). This includes trying to optimize water resources (currently Spain has very low water price and very high water consumption) and increase water resources. The plan also includes a lot of investment in research into future scenarios, which leaves me wondering about urgency and priority, two concepts which are difficult to concretize in this context because, in terms of the future, absolute certainty can never exist. The question and answer period brought an intelligent question to the minister: what about when adaptation plans undermine mitigation plans, such as the increased energy it would require to run desalinization plants to increase water supply? To this, the minister responded that there exists a program to produce renewable energy at the same rate as engergy conumption increases. (This, however, includes such things as hydro-electric dams, which wreak their own kind of environmental havoc, and on top of that, Spain has the second largest number of dams in the world.) The question of justice and equality also arises: Spain has the infrastructure to develop a NAPA, and compared to developing countries is very well off. However, like all nations, and perhaps (because of its location) moreso than other developed nations, it will be suffering from the predicted environmental changes as well. What is its responsibility to its own people and to those of other nations? What is everyone’s role in this world of changes? Big questions, and, like most big questions, probably unanswerable until we see what roles we take.

Francois Gemenne of the University of Liege pointed out the current and future problems of environmental refugees. Under the Geneva Convention, environmental refugees are not recognized. However, as Gemenne stated, recognition under Geneva probably wouldn’t meet the needs of environmental refugees (it is intended to protect those fleeing political turmoil), and anyway only applies to parties to the convention, which consists mostly of Northern states. According to the now-infamous Stern report, 200 million people could be permanently displaced by 2050, mostly due to rising sea levels (the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), those in the Arctic, and those living in coastal cities and floodplains). Village relocation, I found out, is already happening. For example, the US government apparently pays for trucks to come in to Arctic villages with cranes and physically move them.

The demographic, cultural, psychological, and resource burden of mass migrations is an overwhelming prospect. This is truly a human side to climate change. Although environmental factors have always and will always displace people, cause people suffering, as well as cause people times of great joy and prosperity (depending on how conducive the environment is to livlihood at the time), displacement- detachment from a place you feel is your home, disconnect from family and friends, loss of culture and language, increased potential for conflict between people who are different and feel they do not understand each other, increased strain on resources, the role of human emotions- will never be easy.

Gemenne proposed to extend the mandate of the UNHCR (High Commissioner for Refugees)- which was absent at this conference- to cover environmental refugees temporarily displaced. For the permanently displaced, he said, a “copycat of Kyoto” which consists of regional burden-sharing schemes- based on the polluter pays principle and on where the resources are- could be part of a solution. It’s Europe’s business, he said, because the EU needs to acknowledge its share of responsibility and needs to make massive shifts in immigration policy. (This is also entirely true of the U.S.)

And so we come back to it: the complexities of the challenge, the responsibility we share.


Technology transfer

Rob Bradley
Nov 14, 8:28 AM

Few negotiating groups are expecting big results in Nairobi, but some gather with a particular lack of sparkle. It's been well over a decade that we've been negotiating international climate agreements, and there are some issues that have remained essentially unchanged. Today we will take you inside one of these perpetually-deadlocked debates. You're welcome.

No-one would dispute that technology transfer is important in fighting climate change: indeed, developing and deploying clean technologies is really what climate policy is about. But there is little common understanding of what really drives technology deployment in different countries.

Take the group of 134 developing countries known as the G77 and China. We don't have the money to spend on your fancy technology, they say. Cancel the intellectual property rights on all the technology, and we'll make it ourselves. Or set up a large fund to buy the patents and send it over.

But, reply the rich countries, that's not how it works. The intellectual property doesn't belong to us, but to companies in the private sector. The best way to ensure that you get new and efficient technologies is to create what we call "enabling environments," meaning removing trade barriers, reducing corruption and perverse regulation, and creating a good investment climate. In the absence of these measures a fund would be simply wasted money, and we'd prefer not to do that.

Oh come on, say the G77 & China, governments call the shots and control the private sector, and if you really wanted to you could share the patents. And telling us that all will be well if we completely fix our economies and institutions is not massively helpful in the near term.

And so on. Year after year developing countries focus on the removal of intellectual property protections and the creation of a new fund. Rich countries decline, and frame broad intentions to help create enabling environments. In the meantime the issue is punted to a working group to consider the options.

At the moment that working group is known as the Expert Group on Technology Transfer. The developing countries are proposing a new group with greater scope to call panels of experts and make strong policy recommendations. Since progress on funds or intellectual property seem out of the question, the scope of a final deal might include the substitution of one arcane body by another. In the meantime, emissions trading, the clean development mechanism and national policies and measures will have to achieve what the negotiators can only talk about.


Belarus, a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in controversy

Rob Bradley
Nov 16, 7:41 AM

Followers of the tectonic struggles of the great powers probably do not spend too much time worrying about Belarus. Wedged between Russia and the European Union, this former part of the Soviet Union is not deeply involved in world environmental affairs. It is, however, raising an interesting conundrum for climate politics.

Belarus did not ratify the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) until 2000, eight years after it was agreed. This meant that when the Kyoto Protocol, which is an offshoot of the UNFCCC, was negotiated in 1997, Belarus was not among the negotiators. It is therefore not in the Kyoto Protocol?s Annex B, and has no target for emission reductions. This leaves it in a kind of limbo?now that it has ratified the Convention, it is an Annex I country, which means that it cannot benefit from developing country mechanisms such as the various funds or the Clean Development Mechanism. But without a target neither can it participate in Annex I mechanisms such as emissions trading or Joint Implementation.

In the meantime, Belarus has now ratified both the Convention and, last year, the Kyoto Protocol. Its delegation is now asking to adopt an emissions target and to play a full role in the Protocol. Other countries are taking this offer cautiously. So why does Belarus now want to participate where it didn?t before? And since it does, why might other countries not welcome it?

There are two reasons why Belarus might want to play a fuller role in the Kyoto Protocol. First, its relations with other countries are not uniformly smooth. More active participation in an important international process offers an opportunity to put its international relations on more constructive footing. Second, Belarus has realized that it could potentially gain significant new financial flows if it could take part in international emissions trading. Assuming it is treated in a similar way to its fellow former-Soviet states, its target would very likely leave it with a tasty surplus of emission rights (known in the usual impenetrable jargon as Assigned Amount Units, or AAUs) which it could in principle sell to other countries that fall short of meeting their emission reduction commitments.

So far so good, you might think. Welcome a strayed lamb back into the fold and bring more AAUs into the Kyoto system - why not? But that surplus is precisely what is making some countries hesitate. To understand why we need to revisit a perennial bugbear of the Kyoto system "hot air".

When the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1997, rich countries and the former communist states were given emission reduction targets from a baseline set in 1990. For most OECD countries this meant that some early emission cuts would thereby be rewarded but that the resulting target still meant making real efforts to keep emissions down. However, the picture was very different for the economies in transition (EITs), as the former communist world was known. They were mainly given targets of stabilizing emissions at 1990 levels. However, the collapse of communism in 1989-91 had led to the closure of vast swathes of inefficient, uneconomic, and heavily-polluting industry in the EITs. As a result, by 1997 their emissions had dropped dramatically from 1990 levels - in some cases by nearly 50% - and the allocation therefore left them with a huge tradable surplus of AAUs. This was understood when the negotiations took place and was essentially a financial inducement for the EITs to agree to the Protocol. Since the group included such giants as Russia and the Ukraine, rich countries considered this as a price worth paying. The availability of such cheaper AAUs also alleviated US concerns about the cost of meeting their targets.

The EITs had a good case for getting some financial support. First of all, the collapse of communism had left their economies in terrible shape - or, perhaps more accurately, revealed what terrible shape they were in already. At the same time, their energy infrastructure was in the main much less efficient than in their rich country counterparts, which meant that there was plenty of scope to cut emissions cheaply. Some referred to Russia as "the Saudi Arabia of energy efficiency."

However, so deep was the economic collapse of the EITs, and so large are they, that the over-allocation of AAUs left a huge supply of tradable credits that could, through the trading system, allow countries to meet their emission targets while making no real emission reductions. The withdrawal of the United States, which was expected to provide much of the demand for these AAUs, meant that there was a real prospect of this over-allocation swamping all efforts to reduce emissions in rich countries. The term "hot air" was coined to describe the surplus, reflecting the sense that, far from being a legitimate part of the trading system, it was a fraud to undermine climate policy.

Still, it was part of the deal, and the participation of Russia in particular was essential to bringing the Kyoto Protocol into force. For many countries however, hot air was a necessary evil. It was certainly not something they embraced gladly.

Which brings us back to Belarus. It has undergone the same economic collapse and restructuring as the rest of the Soviet Union, and its enthusiasm for taking a target is based on the expectation of hot air on similar terms. It is requesting a target of 5% below 1990 levels, while in 2000 its emissions were 45% lower than in 1990. Even allowing for growth between 2000 and 2012, this means a major allocation of hot air. Estimates bandied about at the moment range from 30 to 50 million tons of CO2 through the commitment period. Even at moderate prices this means financial transfers in the hundreds of millions of dollars if Belarus can find a buyer.

The problem for Belarus is that the Kyoto Protocol is already in force, and the major post-Soviet countries are already in. For many countries therefore the problems of Belarus' participation - even more hot air sloshing around in the system - is not outweighed by many obvious advantages. And with diplomatic relations strained at the best of times (the EU maintains visa bans on top-level Belarus officials) there is little sign of an early push to do Belarus a favor. For the time being, Belarus is on a charm offensive, but there is not much sign of a quick decision. Whatever the technical details of the climate negotiations, bigger realpolitik is never far away.


Friday, November 10, 2006

New Chairwoman for Senate Environmental Public Works Committee

Boxer Pledges Shift on Global Warming

Friday November 10, 2006 9:46 AM

AP Photo FX911


Associated Press Writer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Sen. Barbara Boxer on Thursday promised major policy shifts on global warming, air quality and toxic-waste cleanup as she prepares to lead the U.S. Senate's environmental committee.

``Time is running out, and we need to move forward on this,'' Boxer said of global warming during a conference call with reporters. ``The states are beginning to take steps, and we need to take steps as well.''

Boxer's elevation to chairwoman of the Senate Environmental Public Works Committee comes as Democrats return to power in the Senate. It also marks a dramatic shift in ideology for the panel.

The California Democrat is one of the Senate's most liberal members and replaces one of its most conservative, Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma. Inhofe had blocked bills seeking to cut the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming, calling the issue ``the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people.''

Environmentalists were overjoyed at the change.

``That's like a tsunami hit the committee,'' said Karen Steuer, who heads government affairs at the National Environmental Trust, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. ``You can't find two members or people more ideologically different.''

As chairman, Inhofe tried to overhaul the Endangered Species Act and supported the Bush administration's 2002 rules to roll back provisions in the Clean Air Act. He also promoted legislation that would have allowed the government to suspend air and water quality rules in response to Hurricane Katrina.

Boxer said she intends to introduce legislation to curb greenhouse gases, strengthen environmental laws regarding public health and hold oversight hearings on federal plans to clean up Superfund hazardous waste sites across the country.

On global warming, Boxer said she would model federal legislation after a new California law that imposed the first statewide limit on greenhouse gases and seeks to cut California's emissions by 25 percent, dropping them to 1990 levels by 2020.

``Some of the practical solutions are in the California approach,'' Boxer said.

A top environmental aide at the White House signaled Thursday that the administration would work with her. George Banks, the associate director for international affairs at the Council for Environmental Quality, has requested a meeting to discuss global warming, Boxer said.

President Bush has opposed a federal mandate to limit greenhouse gas emissions from industry and automobiles, saying such steps should be voluntary.

``We look forward to working with Congress in bipartisanship on all issues,'' said Kristen Hellmer, a spokeswoman for the Council on Environmental Quality. She declined to discuss specifics related to the upcoming global warming discussion.

Some environmentalists said major changes in policy won't occur before 2008.

``On the issue of global warming in particular, we're going to need a new president before we see major progress,'' said Eric Antebi, spokesman for the San Francisco-based Sierra Club. ``But this Congress can really lay the groundwork for that and make incremental changes.''

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