Tom Switzer: Don't expect too much down Mexico way

"Climate agreement? We don't need no stinking climate agreement!"

Always right on the money, Tom Switzer says that the chances of any agreement on climate in Mexico are microscopic:

All the evidence indicates that President Barack Obama won’t be able to lead the world to a post-Kyoto deal. This is because the politics of the environment have shifted dramatically in recent months. There are many reasons for the changing climate in Washington. Here are four of them:

First, both Congress and the White House remain pre-occupied with other policy priorities from overhauling the healthcare and immigration systems and increasing 30,000 troops to Afghanistan to implementing new Wall Street regulations and tackling double-digit unemployment and skyrocketing debt and deficit.

Second, polls and surveys Pew, Gallup, Zogby, Rasmussen show Americans are quickly losing faith in the science of man-made climate change. A Harris Poll found that those who believe that carbon dioxide leads to global warming have dropped from 71 per cent two years ago to only 51 per cent today. And this poll was conducted before Climategate erupted.

Third, world leaders are recognising that reaching a global consensus on climate change is even more difficult than reaching a global consensus on multilateral trade. China and India insist they won’t be part of what they see as an economic suicide pact. In Canada, a Kyoto signatory that has increased its emissions much faster than the US, the ETS bill is stalled in legislative limbo. In Australia, the conservative opposition parties just defeated Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Fourth, this year is an American election year. A huge new energy tax that threatens to cut wages and jobs unnerves politicians facing a mid-term vote. And not just Senate Republicans either. “Blue Dog” Democrats from the South as well as “Brown Dog” Democrats from the Midwest and Great Plains, whose states are dependent on coal and manufacturing, are uneasy about the administration’s energy policies.

Read it here.

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