Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen
Friendly old girl of a town
‘Neath her tavern light
On this merry night
Let us clink and drink one down
Representatives of 193 concerned nations have been clinking and drinking in this friendly old girl of a town. They have also been pouring tons of carbon into the atmosphere getting there and being there. They still have to fly back home.
But just when it all appeared to be for naught, in flies the Nobel Peace Prize champion to seize a world climate deal from the frigid jaws of inaction. I say frigid, because a ton of snow was dumped on all those tavern lights by a Mother Earth who was apparently not amused.
The President explains what wonderful thing was achieved there. From the New York Times:
“For the first time in history,” Mr. Obama said, “all major economies have come together to accept their responsibility to take action to confront the threat of climate change.”
Note the article “to,” repeated three times in this short quote. Each instance represents one remove from any real action.
The three-page accord that Mr. Obama negotiated with the leaders of China, India, Brazil and South Africa and then presented to the conference did not meet even the modest expectations that leaders set for this meeting, notably by failing to set a 2010 goal for reaching a binding international treaty to seal the provisions of the accord.
Nor does the plan firmly commit the industrialized nations or the developing nations to firm targets for midterm or long-term greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The accord is nonetheless significant in that it codifies the commitments of individual nations to act on their own to tackle global warming.
Not only did COP15 fail to produce a treaty, it failed to produce an agreement to get a treaty.
Dropped from earlier drafts was language calling for a binding accord “as soon as possible,” and no later than at the next meeting of the parties, in Mexico City next November.
This is theater of the absurd. Nothing whatsoever was achieved at Copenhagen, unless you count “codifying” an historic coming together to take responsibility to take action to confront global warming, absent any actual taking responsibility, or action, or confrontation, as an achievement.
Precisely if you take global warming seriously, you have to be contemptuous of this. If not, perhaps you can afford to be amused. What is certain is that the international community is completely divorced from reality. Global climate change is a serious issue and needs to be seriously addressed, regardless of what you think about the global warming orthodoxy. It cannot be addressed by setting utterly unrealistic goals and then declaring that pious statements, washed clean of any substance, constitute progress towards those goals.