Copenhagen: What Happened, and What Didn’t

As Copenhagen sputtered to a stop, Hillary Clinton made a surprise announcement that the US would give $100 billion annually to help poorer nations cope with climate change, but only if China and other nations would make their voluntary emissions limits binding. The “get China on board” meme continued with President Obama’s speech. His speech was longer than those of other countries, and Bill McKibben thinks he positioned super-polluting nations against poorer, would-be super-polluters. David Corn noted that Obama seemed frustrated, and said that despite America’s good intentions, if China isn’t on board, they won’t really matter. Henry Waxman agreed, saying that although he though Obama’s speech was more unifying, China’s willingness to make compromises was very key. For a while, it looked like Copenhagen would end without any resolution. But since Obama’s speech, China and the US met in one-on-one sessions, and other nations rallied round to at least put together some non-binding resolutions. The result: the Copenhagen Accords.

As the final text of the Copenhagen Accords gets hammered out, Kate Sheppard gave a detailed analysis of what meaning it could have if Congress isn’t on board. Six of Congress’s finest GOP members made a splash in Denmark, espousing “unorthodox” positions on CO2 and warming, such as the IPCC is not interested in science and that global warming is a money-making scam. Unfortunately, these six aren’t the only Americans who don’t believe in climate change.

Update: At 3 am, leaving them just enough time to get to the airport, David and Kate filed a must read piece on how Obama’s deal with the big emitters happened and whether it is something to cheer or jeer.