One final comment on Copenhagen (it's about to get ranty!). As the details trickle out from participants, it is becoming apparent that China was the primary obstacle to a real deal. It snubbed the US on more than one occasion, in rather undiplomatic fashion, over the past 24 hours, sending low-level diplomats to meet Clinton and Obama even though Obama extended his stay in the hopes of reaching a deal with the Chinese. In return, Wen wouldn't even show up for a meeting. This is bad diplomacy and bad news for the US-China relationship. Brazil appears to have also played a particularly unhelpful role.
I must admit that my expectations were low going into Copenhagen, but the outcome is still disappointing. I retained some optimism because for the first time in a decade, a US administration walked into discussions ready to act. Easier said than done, of course. Domestic political constraints limit Obama's hand, and this prevents the US from signing up to legally-binding and substantial emissions cuts. This is a real obstacle to an international agreement.
Yet, everyone knows this, and it wasn't going to be the biggest obstacle to an agreement in Copenhagen. In fact, this is part of the reason that Copenhagen was supposed to be a 'political', and not legal framework. In my opinion the US is no longer the primary obstacle to an international agreement; that dubious distinction now belongs to China, Brazil and India. Particularly China in the wake of their performance in Copenhagen.
Any restrictions on economic growth, which even reasonable climate change activists must admit are a likely short-term byproduct of a best-case agreement, are unacceptable to the Chinese. Nothing can jeopardize their fragile bargain with the Chinese people: political tyranny for economic prosperity. When does this domestic calculation cease to consume the Chinese leadership in international affairs? Further, 'sovereignty' might be the buzz-word of the summit as it seems China's total unwillingness to sign up to any substantive monitoring mechanism is what ultimately doomed their negotiations with the US. China is deeply sensitive to any challenges (real or perceived) to its sovereignty, with perhaps the notable exception of the WTO. But their hardened opposition to even passive, independent monitoring is not just unreasonable but unacceptable for a country that wishes to be treated as a global power and leader. Its diplomatic behavior following Obama's speech was childish.
So here we are.