As many of you know, historically the biggest stumbling block to an effective international agreement on climate has been America’s unwillingness to participate. With the election of Barack Obama, that automatic veto disappeared, but it doesn’t mean that the US has become anything like a leader. The American president has won the Nobel Peace Prize, but he hasn’t exerted effective leadership yet on climate issues yet, and so the U.S. may once again hamper the chance for an accord at Copenhagen. It’s one of the reasons we were so pleased that America produced the single largest number of actions on October 24, more than 2,000 spread across all fifty states.

Here are a couple of the efforts underway to do something about that, that you can support if you are in the US by contacting your Senators and Representatives:

The first is an attempt by and many of the groups that helped us last weekend, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, to radically strengthen the climate legislation now working its way through Congress. That law, so far, is unambitious, unjust in its parsimony towards the rest of the world, and not very binding once you add up all the loopholes. Here’s the outline of the effort to see if we can improve it enough to be useful.

And here’s some positively good news, a resolution introduced in the U.S. House after last week’s rallies that would commit the Congress to aiming for 350 ppm as its climate goal. Its initial sponsors are Rep. Rob Filner of California and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. Many thanks to our friends at Citizens Climate Lobby.

We don’t want to raise people’s hopes too much. The American political system is dominated by money, and the big fossil fuel interests continue to run the show. But we need to turn the heat up on America–in particular to demonstrate how badly it is failing in its duty to help pay for the costs the world is incurring because of a century of American fossil fuel combustion. More on all of this as we head towards Copenhagen!

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