Doing Obama's heavy thinking on climate change is a guy named Todd Stern who is the State Department's climate envoy. Recently, he said in a speech:
"[2C] makes perfect sense on paper. The trouble is it ignores the classic lesson that politics – including international politics – is the art of the possible. If countries are told that, in order to reach a global goal, they must accept targets their leadership sees as contrary to their core interest in growth and development those countries are likely to say no."
And to think we actually pay money for such "expert" advice. Todd Stern is one of those guys who is just smart enough to be dangerous. He thinks climate warming targets are negotiable. Of course, they are not—if 3C makes the planet uninhabitable, it matters not one whit whether our climate expert thinks some sort of economic growth targets are more important. The ONLY possible reason he thinks like this is he obviously believes he lives in the world where scientific laws can be appealed. If the guy fell off a cliff, he would spend his last moments wondering if he couldn't reopen the laws of gravity.
Surrounded by such reality deniers, probably in depth, I think it will be almost certain that Obama will show up as the skunk at the Doha garden party. It will be a surprise if he makes a big public stand supporting 2C. Of course it matters not at all if he DOES support 2C because no one he seems to listen to has any idea how USA would meet those targets anyway. So he could support 2C knowing that when nothing gets done, he'll just have to say "Ooops" (while the earth cooks.)
Obama under pressure to show Doha he is serious on climate changeThe climate has been back on Obama's lips since his re-election, but the Doha conference will show if he is all talk
Suzanne Goldenberg US environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, 23 November 2012
Barack Obama is being pressed for proof of his intent to act on climate change ahead of next week's United Nations global warming summit in Doha.
The proof might boil down to just two words: two degrees. An early statement at Doha that America remains committed to the global goal of limiting warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels would be a clear sign.
Every statement from US diplomats at the Doha negotiations will be closely scrutinised for signs that Obama will indeed make climate change a priority of his second term – and that America remains committed to the global agreement diplomats have been seeking for 20 years.
Campaigners say Obama's re-election, superstorm Sandy and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's endorsement – predicated on climate change – put climate change back on the domestic agenda.
Opinion polls suggest public concern in the US about climate change was rising even before Sandy. Campaigners argue Obama needs to engage on climate, if he wants to safeguard his legacy as president.
"President Obama's re-election provides him with an opportunity to seal his legacy as a truly transformative leader, but he needs to address climate change," said Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute. "I think history will judge any president from now onwards not to have succeeded if he doesn't really grapple with this issue seriously."
Early indications are that Obama will spend more time on climate change than in his first term. He invoked "the destructive power of a warming planet" in his re-election speech. He told reporters he would make climate change a personal mission of his second term. At his first White House press conference, Obama spoke of starting a national conversation about climate risks, and building a bipartisan consensus for action.
But the president also made clear the economy remained his number one focus.
At Doha, negotiators will be looking for signs of how Obama plans to put his climate mission in action.
Hardened climate observers will be watching whether Todd Stern, the state department climate envoy, reaffirms America's commitment to the climate platform reached in Durban last year – including a core goal of limiting warming to 2C.
Some campaigners fear America is backing off from that promise, following a speech at Dartmouth University earlier this year in which Stern said signing on to the 2C goal was unrealistic for some countries.
"It makes perfect sense on paper. The trouble is it ignores the classic lesson that politics – including international politics – is the art of the possible," Stern said in the speech. "If countries are told that, in order to reach a global goal, they must accept targets their leadership sees as contrary to their core interest in growth and development those countries are likely to say no." more