There is an obvious parallel between the Democrats in Congress, racing against an artificial deadline in an atmosphere of hysteria to pass a bill relating to health care, and the “world leaders” assembled in Copenhagen who, likewise, have frantically tried to reach some sort of agreement before their conference comes to an end. In both cases, far-reaching and extraordinarily damaging public policies are being advanced by a political class intent on expanding its power. Unfortunately, it appears that in Copenhagen, at least, some sort of deal has been made.
The Associated Press is reporting that an agreement has been reached by the U.S., China, India, South Africa and Brazil. (South Africa?) The details are not yet clear, but it apparently includes commitments to cut carbon emissions by specified amounts. I haven’t seen a report on whether the deal includes some kind of verification system, which China has long resisted. We’ll have to know more about the plan to assess how badly it will hurt our economy.
We can add China, by the way, to the list of countries that Barack Obama has offended:
Mr Obama met Wen Jiabao, the Chinese Prime Minister, tonight in attempt to repair relations after Mr Wen had taken offence at his insistence on the need for reliable monitoring of every country’s emissions.
In his speech Mr Obama said: “Without any accountability, any agreement would be empty words on a page.”
Mr Wen apparently interpreted this as an attempt to subject China to external scrutiny, despite Mr Obama’s insistence that the monitoring system would respect national sovereignty.
This time, though, it was in a relatively good cause.
UPDATE: As more information emerges, it looks as though the “deal” reached today basically kicks the can down the road. There don’t appear to be any binding commitments:
The deal reiterates a goal that eight leading industrialized nations set earlier this year on long-term emission cuts and provides a mechanism to help poor countries prepare for climate change, the official said.
But it falls far short of committing any nation to emissions reductions beyond a general acknowledgment that the effort should contain global temperatures along the lines agreed to by the leading economic nations in July.
A European Union official said an overall agreement involving those nations not included in the deal that Obama announced was still being negotiated.
President Obama tried to turn the fact that no binding agreement had been reached into a virtue:
If the countries had waited to reach a full, binding agreement, “then we wouldn’t make any progress,” Obama said. In that case, he said, “there might be such frustration and cynicism that rather than taking one step forward we ended up taking two steps back.”
We can only hope that the Copenhagen “deal” will have no consequences at all. Again, the parallel to health care is obvious. The Left wants to get its nose under the tent, in the hope that today’s liberal acorn–to mix a metaphor–will grow into tomorrow’s far-left oak tree.