... Action from a body of lawmakers that really doesn't like to be rushed. That body would be the U.S. Senate, which at year's end was still debating legislation that would cap American carbon emissions. (The House of Representatives passed a similar bill, in a tight vote, in June.) Still, the very fact that Congress was seriously debating a carbon-cap bill was a milestone for U.S. climate policy which was largely nonexistent until President Barack Obama came into office this year. Although the White House has said it will take specific emissions-reduction targets to Copenhagen, it won't have the latitude to make legally binding promises until the Senate makes a decision on carbon caps at home. The hope now is that passage of the cap-and-trade bill will occur in early 2010, in time for a new treaty.