Olympics Redux: Obama changes Copenhagen travel plans

Is Obama going to repeat the fiasco of his last minute Olympic appeal with a similar attempt in Copenhagen to put climate negotiations "over the top?"

Indeed, the White House reasoning is eerily similar as Dan Reihl points out in this post:

Obama continues to think this is all about him, somehow. Will he never learn? And he continues to believe that, all things considered, the American people are going to be fine with more of our tax dollars flowing overseas to bring this charade about? Obama has set himself on course for the most tragically failed presidency in recent history with his decisions on both Afghanistan and now Copenhagen just this week.

And David Roberts at Grist details the White House thinking:

The first week of every COP meeting consists of posturing, speeches, protests, and NGO reports. Everything of significance to the treaty is announced late in the meetings, often on the last day, after a flurry of last-minute negotiations. Coming to Copenhagen at the climax of the talks, specifically to push negotiations "over the top," as the White House statement says, is a risky move for Obama. He's got skin in the game now; he'll look foolish if he rides in at the last minute and fails to broker an agreement.If he's willing to stick his neck out like this, Obama must be pretty confident that he can get a deal. There have been signs of momentum for weeks now. The much-discussed deal with China was just one in a raft of commitments from the developing countries, including India and Brazil. Movement from the developing world has undercut one of U.S. conservatives' principal arguments for inaction. Over 65 world leaders have pledged to attend.

Meanwhile, the U.S. EPA is expected to finalize its endangerment ruling on CO2 on Monday-the kickoff day of Copenhagen-making regulations on CO2 legally mandated and all but inevitable. That's likely to help motivate the Senate, where Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are busy working out a compromise bill that can get 60 votes. Kerry released the Foreign Relations Committee's contribution to the bill today, which would authorize programs, including adaptation funding and technology transfer, that the U.S. is expected to offer as part of a deal in Copenhagen.

Roberts believes a deal is all but done in Copenhagen which would lower the risk for the president. But we heard the same thing when Obama dropped everything to make his pitch for the Olympics. A lot of commentators believed the president wouldn't have gone to Copenhagen unless the choice of Chicago was already in the bag. They were wrong and Obama ended up looking weak and foolish for going.

Will their be a repeat in Copenhagen? With Climategate looming, the delegates will be desperate to reach an agreement and seek to shift debate away from fraud. But significant obstacles remain, and it is by no means certain that anything except a face saving accord can be reached.



Is Obama going to repeat the fiasco of his last minute Olympic appeal with a similar attempt in Copenhagen to put climate negotiations "over the top?"

Indeed, the White House reasoning is eerily similar as Dan Reihl points out in this post:

Obama continues to think this is all about him, somehow. Will he never learn? And he continues to believe that, all things considered, the American people are going to be fine with more of our tax dollars flowing overseas to bring this charade about? Obama has set himself on course for the most tragically failed presidency in recent history with his decisions on both Afghanistan and now Copenhagen just this week.

And David Roberts at Grist details the White House thinking:

The first week of every COP meeting consists of posturing, speeches, protests, and NGO reports. Everything of significance to the treaty is announced late in the meetings, often on the last day, after a flurry of last-minute negotiations. Coming to Copenhagen at the climax of the talks, specifically to push negotiations "over the top," as the White House statement says, is a risky move for Obama. He's got skin in the game now; he'll look foolish if he rides in at the last minute and fails to broker an agreement.

If he's willing to stick his neck out like this, Obama must be pretty confident that he can get a deal. There have been signs of momentum for weeks now. The much-discussed deal with China was just one in a raft of commitments from the developing countries, including India and Brazil. Movement from the developing world has undercut one of U.S. conservatives' principal arguments for inaction. Over 65 world leaders have pledged to attend.

Meanwhile, the U.S. EPA is expected to finalize its endangerment ruling on CO2 on Monday-the kickoff day of Copenhagen-making regulations on CO2 legally mandated and all but inevitable. That's likely to help motivate the Senate, where Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are busy working out a compromise bill that can get 60 votes. Kerry released the Foreign Relations Committee's contribution to the bill today, which would authorize programs, including adaptation funding and technology transfer, that the U.S. is expected to offer as part of a deal in Copenhagen.

Roberts believes a deal is all but done in Copenhagen which would lower the risk for the president. But we heard the same thing when Obama dropped everything to make his pitch for the Olympics. A lot of commentators believed the president wouldn't have gone to Copenhagen unless the choice of Chicago was already in the bag. They were wrong and Obama ended up looking weak and foolish for going.

Will their be a repeat in Copenhagen? With Climategate looming, the delegates will be desperate to reach an agreement and seek to shift debate away from fraud. But significant obstacles remain, and it is by no means certain that anything except a face saving accord can be reached.



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