It’s been a whirlwind in Copenhagen. World leaders are close to concluding two weeks of intense climate negotiations in Copenhagen today, resulting in a political agreement that has fallen short of an ambitious or legally binding climate pact. With public protests in the background and police blockades preventing observers from witnessing the talks in person, negotiators for nearly 200 nations laid the foundation of a climate agreement that left major gaps still to be filled. President Obama’s last-minute breakthrough with China salvaged the talks and set into motion a renewed effort to develop a comprehensive agreement in 2010.

I talked to Larry Schweiger, and here’s what he told me:

“This agreement keeps the process moving forward to a more effective agreement in 2010. But we will need far more ambitious global cooperation to fill in the missing pieces next year. The Senate needs to get busy and deliver the stalled climate and clean energy bill to the president to create jobs and do our share to reduce global warming pollution. And I urge President Obama to continue his consistent leadership on climate change by moving forward with action under the Clean Air Act.”

I have to agree. While the climate negotiations have produced some steps forward, the work is far from done. We have a long way to go in order to get a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement among developed and developing nations, and not a lot of time to do it.

We still don’t have a domestic policy in place to reduce global warming pollution or to unleash private investments for clean energy. Without that, we will not regain our global competitive edge and we will continue to be a stumbling block to a binding global climate agreement.

The lesson I learned was that we seriously need to step up our efforts at home to produce legislation that sets the U.S. on an ambitious path to aggressive limits on global warming pollution.

I say we should make Earth Day, 2010 our goal to pass a strong climate and clean energy bill in the U.S. Senate. Anyone who feels an obligation to leave behind a better world for their family and safeguard wildlife for our children’s future should join our fight to change the forecast for people and wildlife.

Published: December 18, 2009