Newsweek translates Obama’s intention as: "I will go only if we can win; I dont want to be photographed losing."
Copenhagen was to have been the most important international conference after Kyoto, because it was expected to produce a treaty updating the targets set during that earlier conference. It will be recalled that the Kyoto Protocol is an international environmental treaty adopted in December of 1997 and which entered into force in February of 2005. The Protocol called for industrialized countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% from their 1990 levels. Today, 187 countries have signed and ratified the protocol. Significantly, the only industrialized nation in the world who adamantly refuses to sign the treaty is that country responsible for 36.1% of world emissions – the United States of America.
What is one to make of this, except America’s apparent disinterest in the future of the world environment? Certainly, its importance is not lost on the new US President, inasmuch as he made climate change a cornerstone of his campaign platform. From the new President’s actuations and flimsy reasons, it appears this was all lip service, and that in this great country, the welfare of future generations has already lost to political agenda, selfish economic interests, and the desire to avoid being “photographed losing.”
The Presidency of the United States used to stand as a symbol of principled governance in the face of global threats, as the USA used to be a beacon of all that is right and good in a dark, oppressive world. When Obama gets photographed receiving his Nobel prize for nothing in particular, he should remember that recently another American democrat received his Nobel for fighting against global warming. He should also realize that, image-enhancing or not, it is his duty not only as his nation’s