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EU to Obama: Catch Us, If You Can — and Bring Your Entrepreneurs

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The new president has convinced the governor of Texas that his administration will crack down on greenhouse gas emissions. But political leaders overseas want to be sure. EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas has published an open letter to President Barack Obama, calling for the U.S. to take an ambitious lead, post haste. “If Europe’s efforts are to make a real difference,” Dimas writes, “then we need America to join us shoulder to shoulder in the battle against climate change.”

dimas-letterWhile Dimas has much to say about cap and trade and why action cannot wait until financial markets find a more even keel, he also gives a nod to the importance of innovation in his three-page letter:

I am convinced that many of the new ideas that will move us away from our carbon addiction will come from America. What is more, your country has the proven ability to translate research into results.

Today — when the European Commission is expected to reveal its strategy for increasing climate-related investments to $231 billion per year by 2020 — we’ll get a better idea of how Dimas and his fellow commissioners plan to push those results with the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, to be negotiated in Copenhagen in March. But a draft of the outline leaked out yesterday, and it describes several strategies for financing low-carbon development, including new state investment in energy efficiency and the use of carbon-credit auction revenue for “clean investments” in the EU and abroad.