Things are eerily quiet at the Bella Center early this morning here in Copenhagen on this, the last day of the COP15. All but 300 of the several thousand non-government organization participants have been barred from the conference site in the name of security as some 130 world leaders have replaced them. The exhibition halls are empty and all the attention has turned to the final hour negotiations going on behind closed doors. By 3 p.m. or so Copenhagen time, the world will know what, if anything, this two-week, two-headed beast of bureaucratic and activist interests has accomplished in the name of Mother Earth.
While his approval ratings may be slipping on the home front, make no mistake, President Barack Obama‘s star power and hope-inspiring charisma still runs deep for the international set. Crossing the Atlantic late night in Air Force One, our leader and chief arrived to the Bella Center early this morning with the world holding its collective breath. While any chance of a binding deal or a redoubled Copenhagen version of the Kyoto Protocol have been abandoned by even the most resolutely optimistic, many still think an Obama-influenced turn of diplomacy will deliver an agreement of some type. To that end, Obama has reportedly already had a face-to-face with Premier Wen Jiabao of China here today – their coming together representing a dialogue between the world’s two biggest polluting nations and the conference’s two biggest stumbling blocks. Unfortunately, the gap between these powerhouse sides is just one expression of the fundamental problem facing a Copenhagen compromise. That is to say, the vast chasm of differences between the world’s haves and have-nots must shrink at least a little bit today if anything worth celebrating is to be announced this afternoon.
Operation Copenhagen is hunkered down in the bowels of the Bella, waiting for the main meeting hall to open and news – be it good, bad, or just plain ugly – to break. Check back at independent.com/climate later today for the latest from the front lines of history … or failure.