Among environmentalists, there seem to be two emerging schools of thought on the tentative deal that was just struck in Copenhagen. And the rift is pretty similar to the liberal divide we're seeing on the health care bill. On the left, you have folks like Bill McKibben arguing that the weak agreement Obama just cobbled together, with its vague targets, lack of binding commitments, and blanks aplenty, is grossly inadequate to the problems facing the planet and probably worse than nothing. Here's McKibben, livid: [Obama] blew up the United Nations.
Earlier this morning, President Obama gave his long-awaited speech at the Copenhagen summit, and… it was largely panned as a dud. No thrilling specifics, no new concessions or announcements, just a by-the-numbers reiteration of the U.S. position (we'll cut emissions roughly 17 percent by 2020 and, as Hillary Clinton declared yesterday, contribute to a $100-billion-per-year international climate fund for developing countries). He certainly didn't sound like a climate deal was imminent. But how much does that really matter?