Here in the U.S. most folks don't even know where Denmark is. Hint, it's just a little east of Kennebunkport. But elsewhere the positioning before the December climate talks in Copenhagen has begun. In Britian, for example, all three major political parties actually admit there's global warming. They differ on approach and rapidly blame one another for inaction. But Britain has already built tidal gates to prevent worse flooding of their capital city. And they're an island, nervous about rising sea levels.
Today the Labor Prime Minister of Britain, Gordon Brown, said there are only fifty days left to save the planet from disaster. That's how long before the world's political leaders gather in Copenhagen to deal with global warming, or not. The right-wing press immediately attacked Brown as a bigger scare-monger than Al Gore.Now there's been some indication that President Obama might appear at the Copenhagen talks, if the situation looks promising for a global deal. Losing both the Chicago Olympics and the Copenhagen Protocol in one year would be too humiliating.
The U.S. and China, world leaders in CO2 emissions, famously refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol which expires after next year. I see no reason to expect anything different after the Copenhagen meeting. Even if Obama does show up. Can you really imagine a U.S. Senate agreeing to any global treaty that might cost Exxon and Chevron some profits? Reduce coal burning in the U.S.? Curtail use of air conditioning? Raise the federal gasoline tax? Hardly. All those things and more would be needed to seriously reduce greenhouse gas emissions in America. We couldn't even be bothered to build good levees around New Orleans. We are certainly not politically brave enough to deal with a mega crisis at this point in our history. Somebody would be sure to lose some money on the deal.