President Obama and Premier Wen Speak at Copenhagen - Still Deadlocked

Around noon here today, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and U.S. President Barack Obama bracketed Brazilian President Lula da Silva on the podium at the plenary of the Copenhagen climate change conference. My off-the-cuff analysis is that neither man appeared to budge from their negotiating positions, leaving still in doubt how the negotiations might conclude.

Premier Wen listed his country's recent energy efficiency accomplishments and other climate-friendly activities such as a massive reforestation effort. However, Wen insisted that the Kyoto Protocol remain as the guide for negotiations which signals that developing countries, including China, do not have to make legally binding commitments to control their greenhouse gas emissions. Wen reiterated China's promise to increase its carbon intensity (amount of carbon per unit of GDP) by 40 to 45 percent by 2020. Wen also noted that the China had reduced its carbon intensity by 46 percent between 1992 and 2005. So the new target seems to be pretty much on the business-as-usual path, not an additional commitment to control emissions. 

For his part, President Obama did not offer deeper greenhouse gas emissions cuts and he insisted that whatever deal is struck here in Copenhagen in must rest on three pillars: mitigation, transparency, and financing:

First, all major economies must put forward decisive national actions that will reduce their emissions, and begin to turn the corner on climate change. I’m pleased that many of us have already done so, and I’m confident that America will fulfill the commitments that we have made: cutting our emissions in the range of 17 percent by 2020, and by more than 80 percent by 2050 in line with final legislation.

Second, we must have a mechanism to review whether we are keeping our commitments, and to exchange this information in a transparent manner. These measures need not be intrusive, or infringe upon sovereignty. They must, however, ensure that an accord is credible, and that we are living up to our obligations. For without such accountability, any agreement would be empty words on a page.

Third, we must have financing that helps developing countries adapt, particularly the least-developed and most vulnerable to climate change. America will be a part of fast-start funding that will ramp up to $10 billion in 2012. And, yesterday, Secretary Clinton made it clear that we will engage in a global effort to mobilize $100 billion in financing by 2020, if – and only if – it is part of the broader accord that I have just described.

I was watching the speech in the press room and when it concluded I heard a few small boos from the assembled foreign journos.

It looks like the negotiations will be a cliffhanger (and that I'll end up being here all night).

Wen's speech is not online yet, but you can read Obama's here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    The Chinese know that the political situation for Obama and the Dems here in the US is crumbling, and that they won't be able to get anything from Copenhagen passed through the Senate for ratification. There is no way they're (the Chinese) going to make any kind of serious consessions to Bammer's Admin without proof that they can get the 66 votes required for it in the US Senate.

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    Great piece, btw.

  • ||

    I don't see why China has any reason to participate in any global climate agreement, regardless of American politics.

    Their standard of living is going up, and we'd be hard pressed to stop that train. Not that we should.

    Plus, THEY OWN US. "Hey China, emit less." "Hey America, i was going to give you a call. Any word on when i can see some of that money i lent you?"

    And when it comes down to it, they can put 100million pair of boots on the ground.

    So yeah, lets start WW3 for the sake of saving the planet. Nuclear Winter FTW!

  • marlok||

    I don't get why Obama's even going through the motions at Copenhagen.
    The talks are going nowhere, and he's losing support at home and abroad. The other countries present will settle for nothing short of suicide of the American economy through deep carbon-taxing (aka de-industrialization).

    And for the sake of his re-election, Obama better pray that Congress doesn't quietly extrude a carbon tax.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    "Wen Jiabao"

    Sounds like the name of a Star Wars character. You know, one of those little, sniveling, slimy creatures.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    Racist.

  • ||

    When i read Wen's statements, i imagined Les Grossman standing next to him throwing in remarks like "And as Usual, Go Fuck Ya-selves!"

  • ||

    America will be a part of fast-start funding that will ramp up to $10 billion in 2012. And, yesterday, Secretary Clinton made it clear that we will engage in a global effort to mobilize $100 billion in financing by 2020

    And how are we going to pay for that? After our mandatory insurance i mean.

    Wen's speech is not online yet

    Chinese Internet Censorship Strikes Again! (Amazing how it works even with our media sources.)

  • Death Panelist||

    Let no one question President Obama's firm commitment to fight Global Warming with your money and/or job.

  • Neu Mejican||

    This is an effort to mobilize money from the private sector, I do believe.

  • Neu Mejican||

    NYTIMES

    Clinton said the funding would come from a mix of public and private financing, including revenue raised from the auctioning of emission allowances under a possible U.S. cap-and-trade system still under development on Capitol Hill.

  • ||

    Oh, then no need to worry. Carbon rationing will pay for it.

    HEY! Lets just up the price of carbon rations and it can pay for Universal Obamacare too! We'll just raise the price sooooo high, noone will ever to work again, muwahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

  • ||

    *ever have to work again

    (preview doesn't help if your plain stupid apparently)

  • ||

    OT: too many flash ads. There's so many Ford's flashing and Sonic's spinning in my margins, it makes scrolling the page hang.

    Now, i know my x2 4400 with 2gigs of ram is gettin old, but c'mon I can run 3d games with less resources than viewing Reason lately.

    Not that it's just you reason. Fark does the same bullshit. So do all the prontube sites. I just thought Reason would have better advertising sense than those kind of sites.

    What ever happened to nice static ads, or even just anitmated gifs with a few frames? I'm a cranky, technology hating, old man i guess.

  • Eric||

    What the hell are you talking about?

    Try running CCleaner to get rid of some of that malware from the pronsites.

    That should clear things up a bit. The site loads fine on my 2005 $499 special..

  • ||

    Ok, ran my 2 scanners (malwarebytes and comodo), found nothing.

    Checked out CClean. It doesn't scan for ad/spy/malware. I did remove 1gig of windows temp files though, so thanks!

    Finally, flash is a known resource hog. (41k google hits for "flash resource hog").

    My buddy put me onto noscript for firefox though, so nevermind. Flash ads are now a thing of the past, and it's clear sailing here on out.

    I stand by my assertion that there's too many flash ads per page.

  • ||

    From the AP story on Yahoo.com:
    "Obama said the United States has acted boldly by vowing to reduce heat-trapping gasses and help other nations pay for similar efforts."

    and I thought making a vow is just words, but action is, you know, actually doing something.

  • SeanO||

    Wen Jiaobao is not the president of China. He's the premiere. Hu Jintao is the president.

  • ||

    That's what I thought:

    Hu is the President of China;
    Wen is the Premier.

    Or is Hu on first?

  • ||

    SeanO: Hmmm. The chiron on the CCTV here titled Wen as "President of the State Council" so I shortened it to President. I will correct. Thanks.

  • pistoffnick||

    President Wen listed his country's recent energy efficiency accomplishments and other climate-friendly activities such as a massive reforestation effort.

    A few years ago I saw this reforestation effort when I visited China. Thousands and thousands of dead saplings. And its all due to this mandate from Beijing. There is a huge incentive to plant the trees but little incentive to take care of them after they are in the ground.

    What a waste.

  • ||

    Second, we must have a mechanism to review whether we are keeping our commitments, and to exchange this information in a transparent manner. These measures need not be intrusive, or infringe upon sovereignty. They must, however, ensure that an accord is credible, and that we are living up to our obligations. For without such accountability, any agreement would be empty words on a page.

    The Chinese, with a lot of quiet support from other countries, really hate this part. Like the Kyoto agreement, everyone signs (including Vatican City FTW) but no one but the idiot Kiwis actually sticks to the treaty. They want to sign on to this clusterfuck and maybe the US and the idiot Kiwis will actually follow through.

  • Harpoon||

    If we tried some of the shenanigans Europe is pulling with Kyoto, there would be a global outcry. Which makes me wonder why the hell should we worry what these assholes think?

  • adrian||

  • hmm||

    The speeches to hear would be Mugabe, Chavez, and Adjinbababidadubgughaby. Now that's entertainment.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/sto.....774069.htm

  • ||

    I was watching the speech in the press room and when it concluded I heard a few small boos from the assembled foreign journos.

    RACIST!

  • Casey Verdant||

    Obama’s address at Copenhagen was harsh and all too vague about how America and the world can take a more progressive approach to global warming. Hopefully his private discussions and meetings with other global leaders will lead to more progress and clearer goals than his public address
    If you’re interested in global energy standards and creating green jobs, check out http://www.greencollareconomy.com. It has hundreds of case studies on emerging green technology and emissions standards. It's also the largest b2b green directory on the web.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement