Sunday, December 20, 2009
No wide-ranging agreement came out of the Copenhagen talks this week, but our president managed to come home with an understanding among China, India, Brazil, South Africa and the United States that would commit these countries to emissions reductions and commit the more developed nations to significant financial support for making these changes. This represents the first time that at least some of these nations--the fastest-growing new polluters in the world-- have agreed to start implementing emissions reductions. It represents a tangible commitment from the developed countries. And it seems to represent a big change in direction from the United States since the Kyoto conference. That time the rest of the world reached some comprehensive agreements, but the United States would not commit to the process. This time the rest of the world seemed unable to reach agreement on much of anything, but the United States took the lead in salvaging some noticeable progress from an otherwise inconclusive meeting.