I’ll believe it when I see it considering the exact opposite usually happens whenever “I’m all for single payer healthcare before I was against it” Barack Obama is involved.
Barack Obama conceded on Sunday that next month’s Copenhagen summit would not produce a legally binding agreement to tackle global warming, but left the door open to a substantive deal at the climate change conference.
Speaking at a conference of Asian countries Mr Obama confirmed what the United Nations, the European Union and other countries had already admitted – that there would not be time for a fully articulated treaty to be drawn up at the summit.
“We should not make the perfect the enemy of the good,” Mr Obama told delegates at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in Singapore where his views on Copenhagen were supported by all 21 participants, including China.
Countries would have to sign a document setting out the above, which would not have legal force but which would be “politically binding” – in other words, a public commitment that would be difficult and embarrassing for governments to renege upon.
Lawyers could produce a fully articulated treaty ready for signature by world leaders or their representatives, either at a UN conference in Bonn next June or at the next climate change summit in Mexico City in December 2010.
Leaders would aim in Copenhagen to produce what Mr Rasmussen described as a “politically binding” agreement that would cover mitigation, adaption, finance and technology. US officials said Mr Obama saw Mr Rasmussen’s approach as more palatable than taking the risk of aiming for a treaty in Copenhagen and failing.
However, even reaching a politically binding agreement will be tough. Mr Obama still faces great difficulty in meeting two of the four objectives of a Copenhagen deal – setting out the US’s commitments to cut emissions by 2020, and setting out how much finance the US would be prepared to make available to poor countries.
These commitments could be made if a bill now before the US Senate, setting out cap-and-trade legislation, were to be passed by the end of the Copenhagen summit. This is almost certainly not possible, and the future of the bill is in doubt.
If Mr Obama does not have the explicit support of the Senate, the administration may find it impossible to agree to any deal at Copenhagen and this would mean the whole process could break down in discord and acrimony.
Make sure to go over to FT and read the rest of the interesting political tidbits inside.
For those of you that are still catching up on this issue due to all sorts of other socialist crap being thrown at us, here is Lord Christopher Monckton explaining what Barack Obama is likely to do with the Senate’s backing.