I love this sentence from David’s wrap-up of Obama’s “no deal” speech at Copenhagen:
American environmentalists appeared stunned, as they grappled with the implications: maybe collective global action to address global warming is not possible.
I can understand being stunned at the irresponsibility and shortsightedness of refusing to address climate change. But being stunned at the poor prospects for “global collective action” on anything, let alone something as politically difficult as reducing carbon emissions, seems almost tragically naive. There simply isn’t much precedent in human history for comprehensive global agreement on tough issues. If the negotiators at Copenhagen had somehow forged a consensus to take concrete steps to fight climate change, it would have been a monumental achievement. But failure, however disastrous, is anything but surprising.