U.S. gums up works at Montreal climate talks

Representatives of the world’s governments are currently gathered in Montreal for a historic summit on the most pressing problem facing civilization: global warming. And the U.S.? “The United States is opposed to any such discussions,” says Harlan Watson, who bears the somewhat misleading title of “chief U.S. climate negotiator.” Watson is quite open about the fact that he’s in Montreal to prevent negotiation. Instead, he argues that “there’s more than one way to approach climate change,” though the only alternative he’s mentioned is … can’t you just guess? … more research and technology. Other summit participants are putting on a brave face, hoping to, as the head of the British delegation puts it, “start a dialogue,” but behind the scenes it’s widely acknowledged that no real progress is possible without the participation of the U.S., and the U.S. isn’t going to participate under the Bush administration. Until 2009, meaningful global efforts to fight climate change would seem to be at a stalemate.