World leaders meeting in Singapore have decided to punt on reaching any firm agreement at next month's global warming conference in Copenhagen.
The decision represents a huge setback to the Obama administration's goal of passing a cap and trade bill this year, which conversely is great news for virtually every company in America that has been worried about the higher cost of doing business that would come from the enactment of such legislation.
As the New York Times reported moments ago:
President Obama and other world leaders have decided to put off the difficult task of reaching a climate change agreement at a global climate conference scheduled for next month, agreeing instead to make it the mission of the Copenhagen conference to reach a less specific "politically binding" agreement that would punt the most difficult issues into the future. [...]
"There was an assessment by the leaders that it is unrealistic to expect a full internationally, legally binding agreement could be negotiated between now and Copenhagen, which starts in 22 days," said Michael Froman, the deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs. "I don't think the negotiations have proceeded in such a way that any of the leaders thought it was likely that we were going to achieve a final agreement in Copenhagen, and yet thought that it was important that Copenhagen be an important step forward, including with operational impact." [...]
The agreement on Sunday codifies what negotiators had already accepted as all but inevitable: that representatives of the 192 nations in the talks would not resolve the outstanding issues in time. The gulf between rich and poor countries, and even among the wealthiest nations, was just too wide.
Among the chief barriers to a comprehensive deal in Copenhagen was Congress's inability to enact climate and energy legislation that sets binding targets on greenhouse gases in the United States. Without such a commitment, other nations are loath to make their own pledges.
Administration officials and Congressional leaders have said that final legislative action on a climate bill would not occur before the first half of next year.
All together now -- aaaawwwww!