Well, we hate to say we told you so, but … we told you so.
Comes news today that the Obama administration is downplaying any remaining hope for a deal being struck at the global climate-change negotiations next month in Copenhagen.
“Inevitable failure” is the how grist.org’s Brendan Demelle puts it in his just-posted look at what’s happening at the talks going on this week in Barcelona to prep for Copenhagen.
It seems the rebellion of the developing countries yesterday, led by the African nations, had the intended effect of jolting the developed countries. (Interesting, too, that the Africans led this, considering how Africa seems to have ambitions similar to those of China, India, et. al.)
Europeans and the United States today are running furiously away from any thoughts that a binding pact might be reached, Demelle reports:
In contrast to the developing world’s clear, specific position, the E.U. seems to act as if these negotiations just started, as if talks haven’t been going on for years since Kyoto. Europe seems to project the image that it is suddenly being asked to answer this fundamental question.
In reality, Europe and the rest of the developed world have had more than ample time over the past decade to develop a clear position. But when pressed on specifics now, just weeks before the world expects a concrete treaty, they are still flailing around like fish out of water.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is just flat-out saying ain’t gwyne be no deal in Copenhagen, according to a report by Suzanne Goldenberg and John Vidal for The Guardian:
The scaling back of US ambitions follows a growing international consensus that a binding legal agreement on global warming could not be reached at Copenhagen – now just 32 days away. The US shift resets expectations for what will be accomplished at Copenhagen, once billed by the UN as a last chance to avoid catastrophic global warming.
A nugget the Guardian uncovered is that Democratic Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is meeting with South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman to figure out how to bring along conservatives as they try to pass climate-change legislation. That would go a long way to at least create a measure of goodwill toward the United States in Copenhagen.
Kerry is also strategizing with Energy Secretary Stephen Chu and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who was himself a denizen of the Senate until not long ago.
As for what we told you so about: Last month we reported from the Society of Environmental Journalists annual conference, for grist.org, that Obama administration officials were saying in a veiled way what they came right out and confessed to the world today: No deal is possible in Copenhagen.
However, it’s a little surprising that they’re now saying it could well be late 2010 before a pact can be reached.
OK, so maybe we don’t hate saying we told you so all that much after all. But it doesn’t make us happy. We’d just as soon have been wrong on this one.
— Robert McClure