Letter to New York Times, “Assessing Outcome of Climate Talks”

Letter to New York Times, “Assessing Outcome of Climate Talks”

December 21, 2009
Originally published in The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re ’’Copenhagen, and Beyond’’ (editorial, Dec. 21):

You
claim that the results of the United Nations climate conference in
Copenhagen ’’are not trivial.’’ I was in Copenhagen, and I can assure
your readers that the results were indeed trivial.

For two
years, this conference was considered the deadline for a legally
binding, multilateral climate change mitigation treaty, but the
agreement reached in Copenhagen was nonbinding, and was further watered
down by the international community’s decision to merely ’’take note’’
of its existence, rather than adopt it.

In fact, the final
agreement is remarkably similar to that reached at the United
Nations-sponsored climate conference two years ago in Bali.

Yet
whereas you say that President Obama ’’deserves much of the credit’’
for Copenhagen, your editorial page didn’t give President George W.
Bush any credit for Bali. Then again, Mr. Bush was classy enough not to
try to spin a meaningless agreement into a diplomatic breakthrough, as
Mr. Obama is doing.

William Yeatman
Washington, Dec. 21, 2009