Climate Change, Patent Pending

On 12 June, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a foreign relations funding bill which included an instruction to the US envoy to the UN-sponsored climate change treaty negotiations. The US delegation was not to accede to any proposal, the House declared, which would compromise the intellectual property rights US companies have over environmentally-friendly technologies.

Viewed in a vacuum, the House action is of little inherent significance. After all, the executive branch is in charge of US foreign policy, and it is the Senate, not the House which must approve treaties.

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