Passing federal legislation that sets a mandatory carbon cap will show the international community working on a climate protection framework that the United States is committed to tackling global warming, said Washington policy analysts November 19. Eileen Clausen, Pew Center on Global Climate Change president, said that passing federal cap-and-trade legislation \u201cwill be a very significant step,\u201d and one that sends a strong signal to world leaders. She urged the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works committee to soon pass the Lieberman-Warner bill, which sets federal climate change policy, to let international policy makers know the direction of the next administration. In December, representatives from developed and developing countries are slated to meet in Bali, Indonesia, to set the stage for a global warming agreement beginning in 2012. The Kyoto accord, which established greenhouse gas emission goals for scores of signatory countries, expires in four years. \u201cThe failure of the U.S. to take the lead [on climate change] has been the biggest stumbling block\u201d to needed carbon curbs, said Timothy Wirth, former undersecretary of state for global affairs, during a press briefing on the upcoming United Nations\u2019 conference in Bali. As a prelude to the climate change conference, hundreds of scientist released their collaborative report on global warning, which predicts disaster if the world does not reduce human-produced carbon emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its report November 17. It warns that time for action is now. \u201cWe are on verge of catastrophe if we don\u2019t act,\u201d said U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The U.N.\u2019s climate change convention, which is set for December 3-10, aims to establish a carbon light blueprint for countries around the world, large and small, by next year. It is the first of a three-part process to establish an agreement for real, measurable global warming gas emission cuts. Claussen says that the current U.N. timeframe is overly ambitious because few expect the U.S., the world\u2019s largest emitter of carbon, to enact climate protection legislation before next year. World leaders negotiated the international pact in 1997. It then went into force in 2005 after being ratified by more than 50 nations in 2005. Today, 172 nations have ratified the treaty, though not the U.S. because neither President Clinton nor President Bush submitted it to the Senate for ratification. Many fear President Bush will continue to undermine any meaningful international commitment on global warming. Frank Loy, former Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs and board member of various environmental organizations, said the hope is that the upcoming U.N. climate change conference \u201cis not business as usual warmed over,\u201d with the U.S. trying to \u201csubmarine the whole process.\u201d The conference is expected to try and find consensus on carbon mitigation and so called \u201cadaptation\u201d strategies, clean technology--most notably energy efficiency and renewable technologies--and financing for emission reduction measures, particularly in countries with burgeoning economies. One of the concerns of the upcoming climate change meeting is what some claim is an inappropriate emphasis on deforestation, which is estimated to produce about 20 percent of worldwide carbon emissions. Loy warned that too much focus on trying to mitigate the impact of burning trees could well end up leading to an over-allocation of carbon offset credits. Then those offsets would flood into a trading program and prevent actual progress on global warming. \u201cInstead of shutting down coal plants, companies would buy allowances from Indonesia or Brazil,\u201d he said.