Managing Expectations for COP15

News reports that president Obama has acknowledged that “time has run out” for a legally binding deal to come from the COP15 climate talks next month in Copenhagen has many in the mainstream media leading with a message of “no, we can’t.” While the announcement at the  Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) breakfast yesterday gives the impression of a fait accompli for COP15, leaving only the possibility of a “political framework” as the goal and the need for a “two-step” process for a final climate treaty for 2010 “at the earliest,” reports that climate talks in Copenhagen “are in tatters” is hardly accurate and gives a distinctly wrong impression.

That fact is that such an outcome has been expected, especially given the lack of progress on pre-summit talks in Bangkok in October and Barcelona earlier this month (not to mention the US Congress). Certainly hopes that a final, full, legally binding international treaty will come from Copenhagen next month are dim – but that has been an unrealistic and even counterproductive expectation for some time now. Momentum going into the talks remains high, and success at COP15 is not only possible, but essential. As was discussed at the Transatlantic Media Dialog in which I participated last week, it is a matter of “managing expectations” and demanding results for real progress toward a firm and enforceable deal in 2010. The mainstream media’s message of “no, we can’t” be damned!

Read my recent post on TriplePundit for more…

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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