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This article is a discussion of the international dimensions of climate change policy facing the newly-elected Obama Administration, focusing on the Kyoto Protocol and subsequent Bali Road Map and Bali Action Plan. The Bali Action Plan set out a framework for negotiating a post-Kyoto agreement with binding commitments on all parties. The agreement is due to be finalized at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009, leaving the Obama Administration less than a year to shape its international climate policy and promote that policy effectively in the international negotiations.

The article addresses six interrelated issues vital to the success of the post-Kyoto climate negotiations: (1) the level of U.S. targets in the post-Kyoto regime; (2) the nature and level of developing country commitments in such a regime; (3) the amount and structure of international financial assistance; (4) the treatment of forests, particularly efforts to curb deforestation; (5) the approaches to adaptation or measures to be taken to reduce the impact of climate change; and (6) the future of the market mechanisms, particularly the clean development mechanism. The article ends with recommended steps the Obama Administration should take in international climate policy outside of the post-Kyoto negotiations.



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