As people line up to point out, opine upon, gloat or otherwise comment upon the President’s lack of success, in Copenhagen today he secured an agreement that prior to his arrival seemed out of the question.
I know, it’s way more fun to criticize, but sometimes you just have to stand back and admire the handiwork.
The BBC has this:
US President Barack Obama said the deal would be a foundation for global action but there was “much further to go”.
He said the US, China, Brazil, India and South Africa had “agreed to set a mitigation target to limit warming to no more than 2C and, importantly, to take action to meet this objective”.
While the agreement is not yet completely written up and has yet to get the buy-in from other countries, getting any agreement at all out of the conference is more than every other effort has been able to achieve. Specifically, getting the US and China – the largest contributors to Greenhouse gas emissions – along with continental mega-blocks India and Brazil to agree to limit their impact on global and regional climate is a substantial step.
So, other than:
. managing the economy to the best possible state that could have been expected based on where it was when he started;
. doing precisely what he promised with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;
. getting Health Care Reform to (so far) the brink of passage;
. improving the market for green technology and;
. bringing five of the biggest nations in the world together on climate change,
the guy hasn’t accomplished a damn thing!
Where’s George Bush when you need him? By this time he’d driven a surplus into a massive deficit, overlooked warnings about terrorism resulting in the only successful foreign attack against the US mainland and spent a fortune in international goodwill in return for global isolation. Now that’s a resume!
[Update – Dec 21, 7:10am ET]
This AP story gives a little more of the high drama of the day. At the very least it sketches a picture of fifteen hours that would make a real keen made-for-TV movie someday, whichever way the whole climate issue works out.
I think it is safe to say that folks on either “side” of the issue (I can actually think of four sides, but anyway) could read this timeline as either in favor of or critical of the President. Not surprisingly, perhaps, I find the picture of a US president blinking at a bunch of scurrying Chinese underlings then striding into the room with a – “Hey, Wen, glad you could make the 7pm meeting. I see you brought some guests.” – delightful.
Since people closer to this than I debate the significance (NWF likes it, “the Post Carbon Institute” doesn’t) I’ll continue to wait and see (like I had a choice) but I’m no less pleased. The Bizzaro World image of President Palin in the same situation only makes me more mirthful.