FIFE, Scotland—The White House, the U.S. mainstream press and other assorted Obama defenders are giving the impression that the President salvaged a good outcome at Copenhagen, or so I’ve heard while spending Christmas in Scotland (the holidays being what the locals call vacation, something they spend in Europe, which is a place not here but across the Channel).
The narrative of Obama sweeping in and eking out good outcomes is not at all the reading here in Great Britain, where papers on both the left and the right have denounced the climate change conference as a farce that produced very little of value. If the leftist papers do see a silver lining it is that the President of the United States now feels more at ease sitting down and negotiating with socialists and communists from the Third World than with America’s (former?) allies in the West and Japan. Some silver lining, but there you have it.
As for the climate gabfest itself, all was doom and gloom. The very leftwing Guardian — think New York Times on steroids — started an editorial with the question “Does the human race deserve to survive?” They also had such headlines as “Bickering and Filibustering as the Biosphere Burns,” with British understatement having become but a memory of the past here, like bowler hats and running the world. Meanwhile the Telegraph (conservative to the point of being nicknamed Torygraph) blares “Brown Blames U.S. And China for Climate Failure.” The consensus is Obama’s Copenhagen efforts were a complete failure.
The Guardian did celebrate the fact that “the rich world was forced to haggle with the bigger emerging economies on more equal terms than ever before.” Everyone on the left felt comforted by the fact that Mr. Obama burst uninvited into a meeting late Friday with Inacio Lula de Silva of Brazil, Wen Jiabao of China, Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Manmohan Singh of India.
Obama said “I’m going to sit by my friend Silva” who is of course a socialist leader who is popularly known as Lula. Never missing an opportunity to demonstrate the president’s weakness, not friendship, Lula then went back to Brazil and criticized the U.S. and their position at the conference.
That this group reneged – legitimately – on giving up economic growth because the bored and rich in the industrialized world are badly in need of another crusade against capitalism does speak volumes about a new world order. That some of them tried to shakedown the West into paying down billions because of some mythological “carbon debt,” and that Obama gladly acquiesced, is more the stuff of ghost of Christmas past, to wax Dickensian in the land of his birth.
But everyone here recognizes that, Obama or no Obama, Copenhagen produced no binding deal on “keeping temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius”—a rare example of modesty in gabfests of this type.
That my brother-in-law couldn’t get his car out of his snow and ice-bound farm here in Fife, that Copenhagen was snowed under and the Eastern Coast of the United States was digging itself out from under two feet of snow should have given the young and the restless at Copenhagen some pause, but alas no.