"He came, he saw, he disappointed," wrote Mark Hertsgaard of Vanity Fair
of President Obama's visit to the UN summit on climate change in
Copenhagen last weekend.
Mr. Obama had to leave the summit early because what turned out to be
the biggest blizzard since 1932 was bearing down on Washington. Before
boarding Air Force One, the president hailed an "accord" worked out
among the U.S., China, India, Brazil and South Africa as an
Both global warmists and skeptics knew it was neither.
The nonbinding agreement set a goal of holding global temperature
increases to no more than two degrees Celsius by 2050, but didn't say
how. It sorta kinda pledged a $100 billion a year (by 2020) fund to
help poor nations adapt to climate change but didn't actually set it
up, or say who would pay how much, or who would get the money, under
The German magazine "Der Spiegel" described the deal as "limpid," and
declared that "Copenhagen was an all out failure."
"This toothless declaration, being spun by the U.S. as an historic
success, reflects contempt for the multilateral process and we expect
more from our Nobel Prize winning president," said Kate Horner of
Friends of Earth.
"This deal…is nothing short of climate change skepticism in action,"
said Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator for the Group of 77 Third World
Those skeptical of the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW)
"The whole exercise looks more and more like the Woody Allen joke about
trying to find a framework to turn a concept into an idea," said Steven
Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute.
That Copenhagen would fail was a foregone conclusion, because neither
China, the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, nor India would
agree to restrictions on CO2 emissions which would cripple their
But apparently nobody told that to President Obama, who violated once
again the first rule of summits: Heads of state don't show up unless a
deal is already in place.
You'd think Mr. Obama would have learned that from his last visit to
Copenhagen. He went there in October to win the 2016 Olympics for
Chicago, and came home with empty hands and egg on his face.
In Copenhagen this time, the president undermined both his own
reputation and the slim prospects a meaningful agreement could be
Mr. Hertsgaard described the president's speech to the delegates from
192 nations as "surprisingly lackluster."
"Obama's speech disappoints and fuels frustration in Copenhagen," said
the Guardian, a left wing British newspaper.
"His eight minutes of remarks signaled a global train wreck," said David
Corn of Mother Jones magazine.
Mr. Obama was a loser in Copenhagen. So were the greenies who wanted a
"I expect 20 or 30 years from now, environmentalists will look back on
global warming as the issue that ate their movement alive, and
Copenhagen as the turning point," Mr. Hayward said.
But the biggest loser was the UN.
"Copenhagen was the last chance saloon not for the planet, which does
not need saving, but for the UN's world government wannabes," said Lord
Christopher Monckton. "The eco-Nazis' attempt at a global coup de etat
has failed, and no such attempt is likely to succeed again."
Viscount Monckton is a prominent AGW skeptic. But his conclusion was
shared by many ardent true believers.
"The best chances of reining in emissions of greenhouse gases and
avoiding dangerous climate change is to stamp a big green R.I.P. over
the sprawling United Nations process that the Copenhagen talks were part
of," wrote Sharon Begley, science reporter for Newsweek.
"The chaotic Copenhagen summit showed up the UN's shortcomings more
clearly than ever," agreed Der Spiegel.
" The UN process can no longer be the central focus of global efforts to
confront climate change," wrote Michael Levi in the liberal Webzine
Both Ms. Begley and Der Spiegel recommended following an approach of
voluntary regional accords first proposed by George W. Bush, an approach
also favored by Harvard economist Robert Stavins.
For President Obama, that had to be the unkindest cut of all.