President Barack Obama’s decision to drop in on the international climate conference in Copenhagen next month lends some star power to an event that’s lost much of its luster — but at considerable risk for Obama himself.
“This could be one hell of a global game changer with big reverberations here at home,” said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the lead sponsor of climate change legislation in the Senate. “The fact that the president will attend the Copenhagen talks underscores that the administration is putting its money where its mouth is, putting the president’s prestige on the line.”
And therein lies the problem for Obama. The upside potential for his visited is limited; expectations for the conference have dropped dramatically over the past few weeks, with nearly universal acknowledgment that the talks are very likely to result in a only limited political agreement, rather than in a legally binding treaty on global warming.