The usually savvy Mother Jones reporter, David Corn, has published a flawed analysis, “Is Copenhagen dead” (original here, repost here).
The media has a herd mentality when it comes to reporting on all things presidential — either you’re up or you’re down. Indeed, the media likes to build up politicians and then tear them down. So it is with Obama now.
Compounding that, the media likes a simple story, either great success or great failure. Since the media (mis)perceives that both domestic and international climate action are on a down swing, even more piling on is inevitable. Then again, some in the media believe temperatures are on the down swing, so what the frac do they know?
For eight years, Cheney-Bush not only muzzled climate scientists and blocked domestic action, they actively worked behind the sciences to kill any international deal. It takes a lot of effort to unpoison a well. And we’ve only had the possibility of serious international negotiations since January. Anyone who thought there would be a final deal, signed and sealed in December, a mere 11 months later, wasn’t paying attention to recent history and doesn’t appreciate the nature of international negotiations.
The fact is, the news from China, India, Japan, and this country is far more positive toward the possibility of agreement than it has been for a decade or longer. This is, finally, the one brief shining moment for action.
Does that mean there will be an ultimate deal that begins in Copenhagen? Not at all. The forces of denial and delay in this country in particular are strong and may still kill domestic action, which would in turn make a global deal very, very hard to achieve.
But I remain confident that Obama can and will deliver a domestic bill and an international agreement. Since Corn based his misanalysis on a column coathored by the CEO of CAP, I’ll let John Podesta have the final word with his reply, “Poised For Progress At The U.N. Climate Summit In Copenhagen“:
While Mother Jones’ David Corn is an excellent reporter, he is a lousy tealeaf reader. Mr. Corn misread a recent article by Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Nobel Peace Prize winner, and myself in advance of the G20 summit, incorrectly concluding our purpose was to downplay expectations on behalf of the Administration. Mr. Corn’s interpretation of our piece is inaccurate. Dr. Pachauri, one of the world’s foremost advocates for strong global action on climate change, and I both recognize that significant challenges remain in advance of the U.N. summit in December. But we are confident that the international community is poised to make substantial progress on climate change in Copenhagen, and that the U.S. is now in a position to exercise renewed leadership in pursuit of a best-case climate scenario.The purpose of ourSeptember 23 piece was to emphasize the importance of climate change in advance of the G20 meetings and encourage the world’s top emitters to seize an important opportunity to take concrete steps to move forward in advance of December’s summit. It is not news that the divide between the unwieldy groups of developed and developing countries have stalled climate talks in the past and that they are drifting again. It is, however, noteworthy that major emitters have recently utilized new channels — the Administration’s Major Economies Forum, for example, as well as the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue — to lay the groundwork for a new climate agreement in Copenhagen. We think this is an important development and should be pursued whenever opportunities, like this week’s summit, arise. Our piece urged leaders at the G20 to pursue concrete actions prior to Copenhagen on issues such as financing arrangements, technology cooperation, and deforestation prevention to increase the chances of success in December.
Even in the midst of global economic crisis, climate change has remained at the top of the agenda both in the United States and in key countries around the world. There is broad consensus that the effects of climate change are not only real, but will be devastating to developed and developing countries alike if the international community fails to agree on a global emissions reduction strategy soon. The road ahead is not without obstacles, which our piece pointed out. But the fate of Copenhagen is far from sealed — and it is my strong belief that the Obama Administration is committed to doing all it can to lead the world into a low-carbon, clean energy future.