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Betting on Blair


Tony Blair announced (video) in London last week that he would lead an international effort to “break the climate deadlock.” The former British prime minister will work with The Climate Group to devise a deal in which all of the world’s countries, including key greenhouse gas emitters — the United States, China, and India — can participate.

Blair told the Guardian:

People often say to me there are a lot of climate change plans out there, and I say ‘how many of them are politically doable?’ So the experts are providing technical knowledge, and specialist insight, but what I am trying to do is guide it politically.

As I wrote last fall, the former PM is uniquely positioned to make this work. Knowledgeable about climate science, skilled as a diplomat on the world stage, and without the political baggage of most retired heads of state, Blair just might be able to get the job done.

Blair has set an ambitious goal: broker a global deal in time for the next U.N. climate meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009. The timing is critical because the Kyoto Protocol is due to expire in 2012. A new U.S. president will take office in January, and all leading candidates support cap-and-trade plans. The stars could be aligned for Tony Blair to work his magic.

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