President Obama is pushing the U.S. to be at the forefront of the international climate efforts and raising hopes among environmental commentators that an international accord might be ready to be signed in Copenhagen in December 2009. The perception is that the U.S. is now serious is bringing climate officials from around the world to Washington. Secretary of State Clinton also made the climate a central focus of her visit to China. While the global recession is expected to lessen the pressure on other countries to take action, Obama is telling Congress to pass legislation this year curbing carbon dioxide emissions. Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently told Congress that legislation creating a cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse gas emissions ``will provide the framework for transforming our energy system to make our economy less carbon-intensive, and less dependent on foreign oil.``