With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton busy dealing with the Afghanistan situation, Maria Cantwell has been filling the void in other areas of foreign policy. First Washington's junior senator criticized the Italian justice system, which convicted UW student Amanda Knox of murder. Now, with the Copenhagen climate talks breaking down, Cantwell is wading into the global-warming debate, proposing a twist on the cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions. Last Friday, Cantwell and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced the CLEAR Act, which would create a cap-and-dividend system wherein the federal government would auction emission rights to energy companies and use the proceeds for taxpayer rebates, since overall energy prices would likely rise. In theory, our pocketbooks and Mother Earth would both win. While it's already attracted criticism from environmental groups, who point out that the legislation's emission-cap goals aren't stringent enough, the timing is good for the CLEAR Act, with all the fighting over regulation on the international stage. Of course, the CLEAR Act doesn't really have much to do with international climate agreements, and Cantwell's bill may not make much difference in Denmark. But it seems as if any time an issue of international significance hits the headlines these days, it's not long before Cantwell gets involved.