air-force-oneThe good news is that President Obama is going to Copenhagen.

The bad news is that he is going on a whirlwind trip to lobby the International Olympic Committee on behalf of Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Games.

Its got nothing to do with climate change.

His flying visit comes days after Obama talked down the importance of sealing a deal on climate change at Copenhagen in December.

It’s great that he sees it important to fly to Copenhagen for the US Olympic bit, but does not see the need for climate deal. Shows he has his priorities right.

I wonder if Obama has read the comments of one of the world’s leading climate change experts, Professor John Schellnhuber, who has described the US as “climate illiterate.”

Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change, said the chance of getting a deal now at Copenhagen was “pie in the sky” because rich countries like America are unwilling to sign up to ambitious carbon reduction targets.

Meanwhile the Guardian has obtained the draft of the Copenhagen text, being discussed in Bangkok at the moment, which it describes as “long, confusing and contradictory.”

The paper reports that “Behind the scenes, pessimism about the Copenhagen talks is rising. Despite references in the text to a global goal and collective emission cuts of 25-40% by 2020 for rich countries, many observers believe there is little chance such an approach will succeed.”

A top European official told the Guardian: “We’ve moved on from the idea that we can negotiate on targets. That’s naive and just not the way the deal will be done. The best we can get is that countries will put in what they want to commit to.”

Most alarmingly the official told the paper that once all false solutions to climate change like offsets and emissions trading are taken into account, the outcome is likely to be that emissions in 2020 from rich countries will be broadly similar to those in 1990.

That’s no cuts at all by 2020 ……

Prof Schellnhuber, like many leading climate scientists, describes the Copenhagen conference as “the most important meeting in the history of the human species”.

And yet it already looks doomed to failure.

But at least we have the 2016 Olympics to look forward to..