Here’s an obscure but significant piece of news:

Remember that Asia-Pacific climate pact that was announced to great fanfare in July? Though the participating governments — U.S., China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Australia — denied it, it was widely seen as an attempt to establish an alternative to Kyoto, one that conspicuously involved no mandatory emissions cuts.

Heightening that impression was the stated plan to hold the inaugural ministerial meeting in November, thus stealing the spotlight from the next round of U.N. climate talks to be held in Montreal on Nov. 28.

Well, now that inaugural Asia-Pacific meeting has been postponed — until January at the earliest, probably longer. Depending on your perspective, this could mean:

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  • that, as FoE’s Stephanie Long puts it, "Nothing has happened to take this pact forwards, there’s been nothing to disclose what it would entail, and it doesn’t seem like it’s as important to get around the table as it was to announce the setting up of this pact" — in other words, the countries just couldn’t get their shit together to make this fantasy any kind of tangible reality;
  • the pendulum of international opinion is swinging back toward Kyoto-style mandatory cuts;
  • oh, gosh, nothing, just some bureaucratic details that need to be ironed out.