To fully appreciate what a step backwards the final Copenhagen accord is, one has to recall the buildup to it. For the last two years, global warming activists and UN officials had circled December 2009 on their calendars as the watershed moment for creating a new carbon-constrained global economy for decades to come. And in the nick of time, they would argue, as the existing targets in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol are scheduled to expire in 2012. Furthermore, with the Bush administration gone in 2009, many in the international community felt that the path was clear for the Obama administration to finally include America in binding, verifiable, and enforceable restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.

Of course, none of this happened in Copenhagen. The final agreement includes no stringent new post-2012 targets

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