Britain is to be at the forefront of a new initiative to persuade America to stand up and admit that climate change is a serious issue.
In a major change of strategy, the move will ignore the Bush administration and appeal directly to individual US states to join the EU carbon trading scheme.
Environment minister David Miliband will lead a group of MPs hoping to persuade California, and as many as nine other states, to join the EU carbon trading scheme.
New Yorker governor George Pataki has joined California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger in indicating that his state might well be interested in joining the scheme.
The British politicians will also take advantage of the new Democrat-dominated Senate to push the climate change message home on Capitol Hill.
Stephen Byers MP spoke about the planned attempt to get US states to join the EU scheme: “Some of the proposals will bypass the White House, others will engage with sympathetic Republicans,” he said. “We are seeking to put pressure on President Bush.”
David Miliband also commented, “The science is moving faster than the politics now. In 2007 we need significant progress at the international level. The UK is showing continued leadership with its Climate Change Bill, the EU is showing leadership and we hope other legislatures across the world will take similar action.”