Breaking: India, China walk out of Copenhagen
posted at 10:49 am on December 18, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Barack Obama came, he spoke, and no one concurred:
India and China have taken a united stand and walked out of the climate summit as Copenhagen talks fail.
Tensions prevailed at the climate talks at Copenhagen today, as Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and China premier Wen Jiabao walked out of the summit along with their respective delegations, as talks failed.
Obama feted Singh just this month, saying that they should be impressed that India got first crack at Obama’s state dinner agenda. Apparently, Singh was less impressed than Obama presumed.
Meanwhile, Obama is getting some pretty bad reviews for his intervention in Copenhagen … from his once-adoring admirers. Since this comes from the Left’s major newspaper in the UK, where political biases are openly acknowledged in the media, this may seem like good news for those worried that Barack Obama would give away the store in Copenhagen. We needn’t have worried; Obama turned out to be just as effective on the world stage as he has been in finding compromises here at home. The Right has no illusions about Obama, but the disillusionment from the Left is rather amusing:
Barack Obama stepped into the chaotic final hours of the Copenhagen summit today saying he was convinced the world could act “boldly and decisively” on climate change.
But his speech offered no indication America was ready to embrace bold measures, after world leaders had been working desperately against the clock to try to paper over an agreement to prevent two years of wasted effort — and a 10-day meeting — from ending in total collapse. …
Many reactions were strongly critical of Obama. Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela, described Obama’s speech as “ridiculous” and the US’s initial offer of a $10bn fund for poor countries in the draft text as “a joke”.
Tim Jones, a spokesman for the World Development Movement, said: “The president said he came to act, but showed little evidence of doing so. He showed no awareness of the inequality and injustice of climate change. If America has really made its choice, it is a choice that condemns hundreds of millions of people to climate change disaster.”
Friends of the Earth said in a statement, “Obama has deeply disappointed not only those listening to his speech at the UN talks, he has disappointed the whole world.”
The World Wildlife Fund said Obama had let down the international community by failing to commit to pushing for action in Congress: “The only way the world can be sure the US is standing behind its commitments is for the president to clearly state that climate change will be his next top legislative priority.”
Honestly, have these people paid no attention to Obama’s performance all year? He doesn’t do the hard work. Obama has spent all year outsourcing his work on domestic policy to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, refusing to get involved in negotiations. Even now, progressives on Capitol Hill wonder if Obama ever wanted a public option in his signature domestic policy priority at all — a rather strange gap, considering the high-profile cheerleading coming from Obama all year long. That’s all he does: campaign.
The one issue that he could not outsource was Afghanistan. As Commander in Chief, the decision on resourcing and strategy was his alone … and it took him almost four months to make it.
The truth is that Barack Obama would make a much better Secretary-General of the UN than an American President, and even the Left is beginning to see it.
As for Copenhagen, Obama was already redeploying over the event horizon before news of the walkout hit, according to ABC News, which had reported optimistically on Obama’s efforts for most of the morning:
“We’ve done what we can here,” a senior White House official in Copenhagen, Denmark, tells ABC News. “The Chinese are dug in on transparency and are refusing to let people know they’re living up to their end of the agreement.”
After landing in Denmark early this morning, President Obama met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a bilateral at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to press the case that China needs to allow for transparency.
“The President’s priority is to make our economy far more focused on a clean energy economy that creates jobs,” the official said. “He is here to work constructively and participate in hoping to get an international accord. But not getting one here won’t change wanting to transform our economy to create the new foundation he’s talked about.”
Well, he’s been there one whole day. Who can argue with his commitment after giving one speech and holding one meeting?