December 23, 2009
NYC Letter: CHOPEnhagen
Day 337 of CHOPE
I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment ... when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.
then-presumptive Democrat presidential nominee,
looking forward to looking back
FINAL PRIMARY NIGHT
ST. PAUL June 3, 2008 (barackobama.com)
The CHOPEnhagen Climate Change Conference is over. It was all very exciting (and sexy). There were the headliners:
December 4, 2009 (ABC News) - A statement from White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that based on President Obama’s conversations with other world leaders as well as the “progress that has already been made to give momentum to negotiations” he believes that his presence will be most productive at the end of the conference.
COPENHAGEN December 14, 2009 (Politico) - As international climate talks appeared in danger of disintegrating, Al ["Green Fatty"] Gore arrived to a rock star’s welcome in Copenhagen today.
If Copenhagen is the enviros' Woodstock, then Gore is The Who, the Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival as a one-man band. The former vice president drew such a big crowd that security had to shut down access, with hundreds of unhappy activists left outside.
And lesser lights:
COPENHAGEN December 16, 2009 (Boston Globe) - Senator John F. Kerry arrived in the Danish capital this morning and immediately met with top US, Chinese, and EU officials to work through deep divides between rich and poor countries in finalizing a climate deal. ... In an interview with the Globe shortly after meeting with Todd Stern, the chief US negotiator here, Kerry said there were the "makings of a deal" among nations, but "today is going to be quite critical."
The "makings of a deal"! [Abrupt needle scratch.] Oh, wait.
COPENHAGEN December 11, 2009 (USA Today) - Todd Stern, a lead negotiator for the Obama administration, said earlier this week that the U.S. was willing to provide public funds to some poor countries but not to China, which holds about $800 billion in U.S. debt and has a booming economy.
... At a news conference [Vice Foreign Minister] He Yafei expressed dismay at Stern's comments:I was shocked. I don't want to say the gentleman (Stern) is ignorant but I think he lacked common sense or he's extremely irresponsible.
COPENHAGEN December 18, 2009 (DNA) - Tensions prevailed at the climate talks at Copenhagen today, as Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and China premier Wen Jiabao walked out of the summit along with their respective delegations, as talks failed.
COPENHAGEN December 18, 2009 (AP) - President Barack Obama said the United States, China and several other countries reached a "unprecedented breakthrough" Friday to curb greenhouse gas emissions — including a mechanism to verify compliance — after a frenzied day of diplomacy at the U.N. climate talks.
... In announcing the five-nation deal, Obama said getting a legally binding treaty "is going to be very hard, and it's going to take some time."
COPENHAGEN December 19, 2009 (AP) - After President Obama announced a break-through accord on Friday, all-night talks were held at the climate conference in Copenhagen about recognizing a political compromise that President Barack Obama brokered with China and other emerging powers.
But after a break this morning, the conference president gaveled a decision to "take note" of the agreement as opposed to formal approval of the claimed agreement.
When we say CHOPEnhagen is over, it is to say dead and buried.
December 19, 2009 (breakingnews.ie) - The UN's climate change summit is in chaos. Major nations have reached what they call a "meaningful agreement" in Copenhagen. But a number of developing nations say it is a failure and a betrayal.
... President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso says the deal is "clearly below our ambitions''.
PARIS December 20, 2009 (Space Wire/AFP) - Leading Sunday newspapers labelled the Copenhagen climate conference a disaster for the environment, for global government, and a sign of China's rising power against Europe's weakness.
Britain's Sunday Telegraph described the meeting aas "A historic climate summit ... for the extent of its failure."
RIO DE JANEIRO December 21, 2009 (Xinhua) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday criticized Washington's weak performance at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen. The United States is not doing much for the planet, Lula commented in his weekly radio program.
HAVANA December 21, 2009 (AP) - Cuba's foreign minister called President Barack Obama an "imperial and arrogant" liar Monday for his conduct at the U.N. climate conference, a reflection of the communist island's increasingly fiery verbal attacks on the U.S. government.
Bruno Rodriguez spent an hour and a half lambasting Obama's behavior in Copenhagen, telling a news conference, "at this summit, there was only imperial, arrogant Obama, who does not listen, who imposes his positions and even threatens developing countries."
(Welcome to our world, Sr. Rodriguez.)
BRUSSELS December 22, 2009 (Reuters) - Sweden described the Copenhagen climate change summit as a "disaster" and a "great failure" on Tuesday, ahead of a meeting of European Union environment ministers to discuss how to rescue the process.
The European Union went to Copenhagen with the hope of achieving a broad commitment to at least a 20-percent cut in carbon emissions below 1990 levels within 10 years, but that and other firm goals failed to emerge in the final accord.
PRETORIA December 22, 2009 (AP) - South Africa says Copenhagen's failure to produce a legally binding climate change agreement was unacceptable, joining a global chorus of condemnation even though it helped draft the final accord.
COPENHAGEN IS A DISASTER FOR AFRICA
African Countries, Worst Hit By The Effects Of Climate Change,
Were Bullied Into A Deal That Does Little To Help Them
December 23, 2009 (Guardian)
WASHINGTON December 23, 2009 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that disappointment over the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change summit was justified, hardening a widespread verdict that the conference had been a failure.
When we say dead and buried, that is to say another catered summit scheduled at some future date.
COPENHAGEN DELEGATES LOOK TO FUTURE
FOR LEGALLY BINDING DEAL
December 20, 2009 (breakingnews.ie)
SARKOZY WANTS GLOBAL CARBON TALKS IN PARIS
PARIS December 22, 2009 (canada.com/AP)
BOLIVIA INTENDS TO HOLD CLIMATE SUMMIT IN APRIL
December 23, 2009 (RIA Novosti)
So what exactly happened? Here is CHOPEnhagen in less than 150 words.
Sensing a photo-op, Mr. Obama puts the prestige of the United States presidency on the line and heads to Copenhagen without a done deal after two years of preparatory negotiations. The conference is fractious and in disarray. Mr. Obama busts in on a clique of nations negotiating behind closed doors and demands openness. He then pulls up a chair and joins them behind closed doors to continue the negotiations. A feckless non-binding agreement "with no more meaning or authority than a bus ticket" results. Mr. Obama declares this agreement "meaningful". The shut-out delegations do not concur. The agreement fails to receive formal approval. The conference concludes, the only consensus reached -- the conference was a failure. Mr. Obama returns to Washington empty-handed.* Later, reconsidering, he admits CHOPEnhagen was "disappointing". [Pause.] John Kerry is in there somewhere.
October 2, 2009 (FNC) - President Obama's failure to grab gold in his personal quest to send the 2016 Olympics to Chicago was a stunning setback for a president who has enjoyed a pop star reception abroad.Posted by Damian at December 23, 2009 11:45 PM
But Obama's stumble may cost him more than the $1.2 million of taxpayer money to make the overnight dash from Washington to Copenhagen.
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama risked their political capital and the prestige of the presidency on an enormous Olympic campaign that resulted in an early exit for Chicago and the top prize going to Rio de Janeiro.