Some very good news on the international front, as the UK Guardian reports today:
During a hastily convened breakfast meeting in Singapore, the US president supported a Danish plan to salvage something from the moribund negotiations by aiming for a broad political agreement and postponing contentious decisions on emissions targets, financing and technology transfer….
The deferral plan was outlined to 19 leaders, including Obama and Chinese president Hu Jintao, who were in Singapore for a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
“Given the time factor and the situation of individual countries we must, in the coming weeks, focus on what is possible and not let ourselves be distracted by what is not possible,” the Danish prime minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, told the leaders after flying in overnight for the unscheduled discussion. “The Copenhagen agreement should finally mandate continued legal negotiations and set a deadline for their conclusion.”
… This would give breathing space for the US Senate to pass carbon-capping legislation, allowing the Obama administration to bring a 2020 target and financing pledges to the table at a UN climate meeting in Mexico or Germany in mid-2010.
This is no big surprise to CP readers or anyone who follows international negotiations or domestic politics. For 8 years, U.S. negotiations were run by hard-core anti-scientific conservatives, who not only blocked any domestic action and opposed any international deal — but the Cheney-Bush negotiators actually actively worked to undermine the efforts of other countries to develop a follow on to the Kyoto Protocol.
It was never possible that team Obama — in just a few months — could undo that and simultaneously develop a final international deal and pass bipartisan U.S. climate legislation — a very slow process, given the experience with our last major domestic clean air bill, the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.
As the NYT’s Revkin blogs this morning, “Many seasoned participants in nearly two decades of treaty negotiations aimed at blunting global warming had predicted this outcome.”
The new plan for Copenhagen makes the prospects for a successful international deal far more likely — and at the same time increases the chance for Senate passage of the bipartisan climate and clean energy bill that Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen Lieberman (I-CT) are negotiating with the White House. The NYT print story reports: