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Standing 'O' for EPA head in Copenhagen

December 9, 2009 |  6:20 am

COPENHAGEN -- The Obama administration launches a high-level charm offensive today here at the international climate treaty talks, as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson kicks off a series of daily events by Cabinet secretaries in hopes of convincing world leaders that the United States is serious about tackling global warming.

Jackson is set to tout the EPA's Monday announcement that it was formally declaring greenhouse gases, which scientists blame for climate change, a danger to public health and thus subject to federal regulation under the Clean Air Act.

Even before Jackson takes the spotlight, her announcement already appears to have bought the Obama administration some goodwill from delegates assembled here (along with barbs from congressional Republicans and critics who say a recent British e-mail scandal undermines the scientific evidence of global warming).

Most tangibly, sources report that Jackson received a standing ovation last night at a closed-door administration briefing for environmentalists and other nonprofit groups on the status of the climate talks so far.

A source said it was the first time in recent memory that those groups had given such applause to a U.S. bargaining team at a climate conference. Under the Bush administration, of course, relations between climate activists and the administration were icy, at best.

-- Jim Tankersley

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