Copenhagen: a spectator's guide

Viewer's guide to the Copenhagen meetings. The talk, the talk, the talk.

The Copenhagen climate talks will produce as many emissions as a parking lot full of Hummers. Any action, or meaningful agreement is much more problematic.

President Obama has now moved his visit to the end time. Say, around December 17. That's when global warming activists are hoping some real negotiations might lead to some tentative agreement about what happens after the Kyoto Protocol times out.

Some major players are voicing support for a $10-billion fund to help poor nations curtail emissions. That's not enough money to build even a single high speed rail system, anywhere.

Here's what to expect from some major participants:

An Australian leader who wants global warming action, but couldn't get cap and trade through his own Senate. Sound familiar?

A Brazilian government pushing biofuel, talking green and intending to support some international agreement on global warming.

A pro-business Canadian government not interested in curtailing the exploitation of their extensive tar sands.

The European Union remains the most aggressive political power pushing for more stringent regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

An Indian government that wants to stand up for poorer nations, including much of Africa. Rich countries should pay to clean up what they've done to the atmosphere. That's India's basic stance. They even have local research proving their Himalayan glaciers are NOT melting despite what others claim.

A Japanese prime minister more prone to emissions cuts than the previous government.

Russia has lots of oil in the ground. Ditto Saudi Arabia. Both nations depend on that revenue. Drill, baby, drill.

United Kingdom: will go along with the rest of the E.U. But expect stonrg words--in English--from Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He's got political woes at home but his two strongest opposition parties also believe in global warming. So Brown can and will sound off. Just today he called skeptics flat earthers. Further he said the folks using East Anglia hacking to curtail Copenhagen action are "deceitful, dangerous."

United Nations: their leaders will try to broker some kind of face-saving deal at Copenhagen but expect it to be mostly gums, no teeth showing.

U.S. government is now saying global warming is real. But there's been no final action in Congress and it's not clear the Obama Administration really has the will to use the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions even if it has the power.

Small nations with little power: they're left with gestures and speeches. Just today Nepal held a cabinet meeting in the Himalayas where they fear climate change will be felt the greatest.