The stumbling block was, as always, the PRC, which needs to maintain a massive growth rate to avoid social collapse. Their growth rate in the last 12 months or so came down to about 8%, and that caused riots and demonstrations. They need to keep it well above that to continue to give the people the visible improvements in standard of living they need to keep them quiescent. And they don't think they can provide that if they can't continue to industrialise at top speed, with the consequent CO2 emmissions.
(And who is it that owns the majority of the USA's foreign debt ... hmmmmm (2))
Yet I am still surprised, and disappointed. In part, because this was so important. In part, because it has given the Swivel Eyed Denier Loons new reason to think they can win. In part, because I remember how Kyoto was saved at the final hour.
But Copenhagen's failure forces me to wonder, if our governments are failing us in the face of the biggest issue facing us, and are so obviously more responsive to the short term concerns of industry rather than the people, are we still obliged to follow our part of the social contract?
1 - "Copenhagen climate conference: the grim meaning of 'meaningful'," editorial published by The Guardian, 19th of December, 2009. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/19/copenhagen-climate-change-conference-obama)
2 - As described previosuly on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2009/07/this-is-why-rebiya-kadeer-will-be.html