Sen. Max Baucus, (D-Mont.) jolted climate bill hearings this week saying he had “serious reservations” about the Democrats’ version of the bill, signaling he may vote against the legislation.

Baucus predicted earlier this week that losing his vote could cost the Democratic leadership moderate support in the Senate. Others have predicted that a “no” vote from Baucus would put the bill in even more jeopardy. Progress on the climate bill is languishing due to Congress’s work on health care and other more pressing matters.

Meanwhile, proposals to impose "carbon tariffs" on countries that fail to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions are unworkable and counterproductive, a Chinese trade representative said on Thursday.

Zhang Xiangchen, a permanent representative of China at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, said "all countries should firmly oppose" proposals raised by the United States and the European Union. "It is very difficult to have a unified standard for levying carbon tariffs and the starting point is to restrict competition from China," he said.

The new U.S. climate bill now being debated in Congress includes provisions that allow future administrations to impose "border adjustment measures" on imported goods, thereby restoring the competitive balance.

Negotiations to expand or replace the Kyoto Protocol, whose first phase ends in 2012, will take place in Copenhagen beginning Dec. 7. The Kyoto principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" commits industrialized nations to mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, but does not hold developing countries to the same pledge.

Source: Reuters