Has President Obama decided that it won't be possible to craft a comprehensive treaty to reduce global warming emissions when the nations of the world gather in Copenhagen in December for what's been billed as a critical climate summit?
After Obama took office, his administration indicated it wanted to lead the way to an international treaty that would bring about worldwide cuts in greenhouse gases and that could be signed at Copenhagen at the end of this year. But the road to Denmark has become full of bumps, potholes and, perhaps, dead ends. The basic dynamic is this: Emerging economic powerhouses (such as China and India) are not eager to cut their emissions and insist that the industrialized nations, which are indeed responsible for most of the global warming pollution now in the atmosphere, should go first, casting an accusatory finger at the United States, the largest emitter. The United States and other Western countries want to get China and India to commit to serious reductions ASAP, for soon they will become the top polluters. But the United States is in a weak position because Congress hasn't yet passed climate-change legislation that would force the United States to reduce its own emissions.
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