Oh my: Copenhagen rocked by draft agreement authored by "rich countries"; Update: Palin calls on Obama to skip conference

The plan: Sideline the UN in future negotiations, require developing countries to limit emissions instead of merely encouraging them to do so, and offer them $10 billion a year to cope with rising temperatures instead of the $200 billion they’re asking. Oh, and conveniently forget to ask for their input while drafting this proposal. Who knew that a politburo could operate so inequitably, with a stronger faction dictating terms to a weaker one? All countries are equal in the fight against climate change but … some are more equal than others, I guess.

I’ll bet Bret Stephens is pissed that this didn’t happen yesterday. It would have rounded off his new column nicely. The committee name alone:

The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN’s role in all future climate change negotiations.

The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.

The so-called Danish text, a secret draft agreement worked on by a group of individuals known as “the circle of commitment” – but understood to include the UK, US and Denmark – has only been shown to a handful of countries since it was finalised this week.

The agreement, leaked to the Guardian, is a departure from the Kyoto protocol’s principle that rich nations, which have emitted the bulk of the CO2, should take on firm and binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, while poorer nations were not compelled to act. The draft hands effective control of climate change finance to the World Bank; would abandon the Kyoto protocol – the only legally binding treaty that the world has on emissions reductions; and would make any money to help poor countries adapt to climate change dependent on them taking a range of actions.

As Matthew Philbin says, what this is really about is first-world nations getting last-minute cold feet at the thought of massive wealth transfers to some unreliable partners. Although that raises the question of why the summit wasn’t limited to large economies in the first place. If the support of developing countries is this expendable, just exclude them from the beginning, negotiate terms among the major powers, and then offer some modest incentives to third-world nations to adopt the final agreement. As it is, they’re risking some sort of PR debacle here, like a walkout. But then, PR debacles are what they’re all about, aren’t they?

Oh, elsewhere at Copenhagen today, lefty heroine Naomi Klein condemned carbon offsets trading as just too darned capitalist-y and hint-hinted to protesters about getting violent (“People have compared this moment to the feeling in the air in Seattle ten years ago.”) Another fine item for Stephens’s column that came one day too late.

Update: It’s not germane to the post, and there’s not a chance in hell it’ll happen, but if Sarahcuda wants to hand me some easy traffic bait for an update, I’ll take it.

In his inaugural address, President Obama declared his intention to “restore science to its rightful place.” But instead of staying home from Copenhagen and sending a message that the United States will not be a party to fraudulent scientific practices, the president has upped the ante. He plans to fly in at the climax of the conference in hopes of sealing a “deal.” Whatever deal he gets, it will be no deal for the American people. What Obama really hopes to bring home from Copenhagen is more pressure to pass the Democrats’ cap-and-tax proposal. This is a political move. The last thing America needs is misguided legislation that will raise taxes and cost jobs — particularly when the push for such legislation rests on agenda-driven science.

Without trustworthy science and with so much at stake, Americans should be wary about what comes out of this politicized conference. The president should boycott Copenhagen.