Heavy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown

December 16th

Tonight as Barack Obama prepares to leave for Copenhagen, the drama could not be more intense and this is happening on multiple fronts.

In Copenhagen the talks have broken down as the world awaits the arrival of more than 100 heads of state. As compared with the refinement and protocol of the Nobel Peace Prize Award in Oslo last week, Copenhagen with its police cordons and demonstrations seems to be near chaos.

The Wall Street Journal reported (Peter Walsten)

The United Nations summit that was supposed to galvanize global cooperation against climate change is on the brink of failure, and how it ends will depend on whether President Barack Obama and other world leaders about to descend on the Danish capital can bridge deep disagreements over trillion-dollar decisions.

The controversy does not appear to be solvable. China has remained close to the poor nations, the G-77. As of today China is resisting the notion that there could be any outside inspection of its voluntary agreements.

In the meantime, President Obama’s popularity continues to fall. Less than 50% of the public approves of the way that he is handling his job. This discontent appears to have come from concern with the health care bill that continues to head toward the 11th hour showdown in the Senate. And many American’s, especially some his strongest supporters, disapprove of his war policies.

In a Wall Street Journal NBC poll, a majority of Americans believe that America will be surpassed by China in 20 years. Obama’s popularity has fallen in his first year more than his predecessors. These are all measures that are not lost on the Democrats who must be concerned that as they run for office next year, their own popularity continues to erode.

Global warming could not be a more difficult challenge and the President will have to play his role with resources that are increasingly constrained.

This is a good time to revisit all of the major climate change issues because no matter what happens in Copenhagen, EPA has already announced that it is compelled to act under the Clean Air Act to address the concern with the “endangerment” caused by Greenhouse Gases. The issue of whether action will be taken here is beyond popularity. What is at issue is how limits will be set and what will happen to everyone else as policy plays itself out. Henry the IV would have understood what the President faces tonight.

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