[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/europe/12/06/copenhagen.climate.talks/story.copenhagen.cnn.jpg caption="Delegates arrive at the summit building in Copenhagen earlyer this month." width=300 height=169]
Special to CNN
Two weeks ago, representatives from nearly 200 countries flew to Copenhagen to hammer out an agreement to limit the emissions that cause global warming.
Now that the carbon-heavy contrails of the diplomats' jets have cleared from Copenhagen's airspace, it's clear that while they failed to make history, the modest three-page unsigned Copenhagen Accord is a surprisingly futuristic document.
Personally engineered by the leaders of the next century's economic powerhouses - China, India, Brazil, South Africa and the United States - the accord suggests a new style of diplomacy, and (happily) a possible mainstreaming of environmental standards as conditions of trade rather than a boutique environmental issue. But we have a long way to go, and the United States needs to show more leadership.
In hindsight, the idea that nearly 200 countries could hold a diplomatic Olympics in a freezing northern city to create an agreement that would cause virtually everyone pain, but contain global warming to a certain number of degrees, was probably politically, scientifically and practically naive.
Filed under: Environmental issues
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