No deal. Not even a fig leaf.
That seemed to be the implication of President Barack Obama's much-anticipated speech at the Copenhagen climate summit.
He arrived at the Bella Center at 9:30 in the morning and immediately huddled in a non-scheduled and tense meeting with 18 other world leaders, including Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei. As Obama and the others talked, White House officials told reporters that Obama had ripped up his schedule for the day—supposedly the last day of the conference—and was attempting to rescue the troubled negotiations. He apparently did not succeed.
After the meeting ended, the summit began its most high-profile session. Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen opened the gathering, saying that it is "not too often U.S. leaders get a chance to chart out a new course for our planet." No such course was forthcoming. Minutes later, Chinese Premier Wen Jibao hailed his own nation's efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. But he offered no give on the key matters that had been raised by the United States: China placing its emissions reductions within a binding treaty and subjecting them to outside verification. Wen indicated that China would keep its emissions limits voluntary and unilateral. Next Brazilian President Luiz Lula da Silva said it would take a "miracle" to reach an accord at Copenhagen. He complained that due to the lack of progress in the negotiations he had been forced to participate in a 2:00 am meeting with other world leaders. He declared that "each country has to have the confidence to do its own oversight"—seemingly siding with China on this front.