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Three and four decades ago, Canada was an environmental leader. Now, in many ways, we just follow the US. On climate change, in particular, the Harper government has promised to do little until the US adopts its own climate bill. It is therefore particularly disappointing that last week congressional Democrats scuttled their climate bill for now.

However, the Obama administration keeps doing what it can to promote a green agenda, despite stiff opposition from the conservative Supreme Court and from Republicans. President Obama ordered the federal government to promote greener employee commuting habits, reduce business travel and otherwise scale back indirect greenhouse gas emissions 13 percent within a decade. The Energy Department announced it was funneling more than $100 million to projects to turn carbon dioxide into fuel, plastics and cement. The U.S. Postal Service said it is more than two thirds of the way to reducing energy use by 30 percent by 2015. And a bill introduced in the House would require the cosmetics industry to list all ingredients on product labels and their websites.

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