In the wee hours of Saturday morning, December 15, 2007, international climate negotiators reached agreement on a "roadmap" for (i) further discussions on a post-2012 climate regime, and (ii) what precisely that post-2012 regime will look like. Of note, the text commits the participants -- including both developing and developed nations -- to make "commitments" or "actions" to address climate change. We do not read "action" to necessarily mean "binding carbon caps," but then again, this is the mythical realm of international diplomacy, so who knows. (We resist the temptation here to draw comparisons to US/USSR negotiations over the ABM treaty during the height of the Cold War, on the one hand, and international jaw-boning over the post-Kyoto scheme, on the other.)

From the U.S. perspective, Congress and the next President are likely to determine what "action" means. From the congressional perspective, the Senate EPW has already tipped its hat with its passage of the Warner-Lieberman bill a couple of weeks ago. According to the EPW, U.S. "action" means "cap and trade with mechanisms to mitigate economic harm with a healthy dose of protectionism tossed in for good measure."

At minimum, we see a bright future for the developers and exporters of western climate-friendly technology because the prevailing winds at the Bali talks suggest that technology transfer will play a significant role in any future international climate scheme. We see lots of exports of clean-coal technology to China in the years ahead.