Not sure how productive Copenhagen was, but this blow by blow account of the negotiations has Obama getting down in the trenches and making things happen, good read. Any agreement on emissions targets has two very large issues to confront:
- Attaining the targets and
- Verification of claims that targets were met.
For example, most countries signed onto Kyoto, but pretty much none have reached the goals set out under the document. In fact, Europe has had carbon emissions increase, so what does this say about the power of these “binding” agreements. If no one enforces the application of an agreement, there isn’t really an agreement in place. The US team seems to be pushing very hard on transparency in China and in general. My guess is that they feel that without transparency and accountability there will be a lot of fudging of the emissions numbers. Making predictions is a dangerous business, but my sense is that the only way to get countries to respect an international greenhouse gas treaty is to impose import tariffs on products from places who fail to comply. We shall see.