That Sinking Feeling
International climate talks in The Hague, Netherlands, collapsed on Saturday, with U.S. and European negotiators unable to agree on a plan for reducing emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Two weeks of negotiations were intended to flesh out the details of the Kyoto climate change treaty, but in the end the Europeans rejected a plan that they said would have allowed the U.S. to get too much credit for calling its forests and farmlands carbon sinks, thereby avoiding real cuts in the burning of fossil fuels and emissions of carbon dioxide. It was the second blow of the week for the top American negotiator, Frank E. Loy, who on Wednesday got hit in the face with a custard pie by an environmentalist. The real obstacle to progress on climate change, writes Bill McKibben in Grist, is that Americans just don’t realize how deadly serious the problem is.