WASHINGTON – A key US senator on Tuesday rejected any attempt to pin a lack of breakthroughs at next month's global climate change talks in Denmark on a lack of US leadership on the issue.
"You mean it's not the failure of the People's Assembly in China or the Parliament of India to pass laws cutting down on CO2 (carbon dioxide), it's only America's fault, blame America first?" said Republican Charles Grassley.
Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, criticized unnamed countries that "accept our leadership on CO2, but ignore our leadership on Iran, our leadership on North Korea, ignore our leadership on Afghanistan?"
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"You know, you can't have it both ways. Other countries can't have it both ways," he said in a regular conference call with media from his home state of Iowa, according to a transcript of the discussion.
Grassley also said he "would not be satisfied" with any climate change agreement that treats the United States differently than China or India.
"China's putting more CO2 into the air, and I wouldn't be satisfied if China's not treated like the United States because what good does it do for the United States to clean up CO2? It's not going to make an impact unless China and India (are) involved as well," he said.
Grassley also had tough words for lawmakers and President Barack Obama who have called for the US Congress to pass sweeping legislation to battle climate change in order to build momentum ahead of the December 7-18 global talks.
"If the rest of the world doesn't follow along then we're going to ruin our economy," he said. "Maybe they don't care."
At the same time, he said, "there seems to be no feeling that anything solid's going to come out of Copenhagen, except a political statement" broadly recommitting to a "worldwide agreement" on cutting carbon emissions.
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