US Softening its Position on Climate Change?

Via Jurist, I see that the UN’s top climate change negotiator, Yvo de Boer, told reporters yesterday that the United States and Australia — the only two western industrial nations not to ratify the Kyoto Accords — have agreed to participate in the Bali conference to negotiate a successor climate change agreement. de Boer’s announcement came after informal meetings with member states in Indonesia yesterday. From the AP:

“The United States came to this meeting with a very constructive position, saying they want to see a launch of negotiations” to be concluded by 2009, he said…”The United States and Australia indicated in this meeting they are willing to begin negotiations,” de Boer told reporters Thursday. “They are willing take on commitment on the future climate change regime.”


U.S. Undersecretary of State Paula J. Dobriansky said the Indonesian talks were the “kind of discussion that needs to take place to move us forward.” Dobriansky could not say if the United States would drop its long-standing opposition to forced emission reductions, but noted that a combination of mandatory measures and financial incentives was part of domestic environmental policy.

Baby steps, perhaps. But a step in the right direction nonetheless! It was unclear just a few months ago, for example, if the United States would even participate the Bali negotiations, which will take place in early December.