Can Obama steer America between a rock and hard place to Copenhagen?

The destination is the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.
The ravenous Scylla is the set of high expectations that this tender, ailing world holds for Barack Obama–particularly at that conference. Here he comes to save the day! Surely, if anyone can rally the planet to save itself it’s the community organizer who rose from the blood-spattered ruins of the South Side of Chicago to depose the most virulent strain of American conservatism yet. And the world is counting on him:
Andreas Carlgren, Sweden’s environmental minister, told the Wall Street Journal that Congress’s approval of climate legislation is “essential” to pinning down a world-wide agreement to combat climate change at talks this December in Copenhagen.
“You shouldn’t underestimate the expectations [President Barack Obama] has created in the world,” Carlgren said. “He’s created huge expectations. That is also something to take into account as we move toward Copenhagen … We expect a comprehensive agreement….
“My Chinese counterpart … always uses America as an excuse not to move ahead,” Carlgren said. He suggested that “one of the best tools America has in its hand” to encourage China to join in “is to adopt a cap and trade system.”
via WSJ.
The swirling Charybdis is American ignorance resurgent: those who would rather argue than act–the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for example–when we’re running out of time to act. And even if the scientists were wrong about climate change, we would clean up a lot of pollution and develop new clean technologies. Where’s the downside? Nonetheless, these naysayers can’t support even the modest progress proposed in the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and Obama needs to sign that bill before Air Force One lands in Copenhagen:
US Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the US will not be able to cut greenhouse emissions as much as it should due to domestic political opposition. Prof Chu told BBC News he feared the world might be heading towards a tipping point on climate change. This meant the US had to cut emissions urgently – even if compromises were needed to get new laws approved.
When Chu uttered that word–urgently–to BBC, he hadn’t yet read the University of Bergen study, out Wednesday, that estimates atmospheric CO2 levels may be 25 percent higher than previously estimated:
New research from two professors at the University of Bergen, Norway, reveals that nature absorbs much less greenhouse gas from the atmosphere than estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Bjerknes center has made the first simulations for the coming IPCC assessment report. The models show that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere could likely be 20 to 25 percent higher than previously estimated. Consequently climate change will happen faster, writes the Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen.
via Dagsavisen.
It’s enough to make a community organizer, whose task is to organize the world community, lose his cool. As you pass through these perilous straits, Barack, keep your eye on the Little Mermaid. Her waters are getting warm.

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