Copenhagen post-mortem

just think: for several decades, we have had tons of international summits
almost all of them have failed to produce anything of value
Why do we keep setting our expectations so high?

That is Bill Easterly spreading holiday cheer following the latest climate change meetings.

How long was the summit? 22 days? My jaw dropped when I heard the figure.

I would love to see the correlation between summit length and perceived success. I have a pretty strong prior about the size and direction of that particular coefficient.

5 thoughts on “Copenhagen post-mortem

  1. Actually, negotiators were in Copenhagen for 13 days. And the “high level summit” part of it, with Heads of State and Government involved was 2 days. If you got the 22 days figure from Easterly’s site then he’s edited it out this morning without acknowledgement.

    More significantly, the alternative to attempting to address this genuine crisis of the global commons is what exactly?

  2. I agree. The photos of Obama, Merkel, Brown, Sarkozy and others sitting around in a circle of chairs, all looking very tired, were great. It’s tough, but this is the toughest thing we’ve ever tried to do, and for the first time developing countries really found their voice. It’s a start, that’s all.

  3. yeah – I’m with Ben and Adam: Just what we need right now are glib economists (and by that I mean Easterly, not Chris) who say “I told you so”. Maybe we could get some smartypants input from Steve “lets pour base in the oceans” Levitt, too?

    Also, about realism:
    It’s not like expectations where through the roof – the letdown is that the outcome didn’t even live up to the quite modest expectations.

    I also would question the empirics – are summits really that bad?: Kyoto was much more of a success: There is a mechanism in place and carbon trading does happen on a global scale.
    There are some unequivocally successful summit results such as the Montreal ban of CFC gases, there is Helsinki 1972 etc. We have some more debated, but I would say still widely positive summit results including the founding of the UN, the ICJ more recently. Some others were widely seen as successes at the time, although the longterm effects are maybe disappoingint – that would include e.g. Rio 1992 etc. etc.

  4. Tough nuts to crack: extended meetings, less than perfect outcomes and flee the scene (sigh)

    Easy pieces: have a video conference or enjoy the photo opp