A few quotes of note:
Several said they had never known such a positive atmosphere. Nobody doubted the reality of climate science anymore.This continues a trend that I've noticed recently. Those opposed to action now rarely attack the science. Their arguments tend to be more diffuse, with more of a focus on economic and fairness issues.
The Under-Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, told the BBC that the US was now acting urgently to tackle greenhouse gases - then later admitted that the country's emissions would continue to rise.The statement that the U.S. is working hard on climate change is as accurate as the statements "We will be greeted as liberators" and "The insurgency is in it's last throes". The U.S. is, of course, doing essentially nothing.
So, for all the positive mood of the meeting in this spectacular northern Mexican city, surrounded by towering limestone mountains, it is hard to be optimistic.I'm not as pessimistic as this delegate, but I agree that we are at present far away from any workable program to stabilize atmospheric CO2. Perhaps the 2009 inauguration of a new President will change that.
The UK Environment Secretary David Miliband said there had been real and practical progress but warned that the pace of action had to be much faster or CO2 emissions by 2050 would be 137% higher than in 2003.
"Business as usual", he said, was not an option.
One delegate told me he thought the pace of political ambition on emissions was so slow that we had a 1,000-1 chance of avoiding dangerous climate change.
He later sent me a text message to assert that he had been overly pessimistic. The odds, he said, were only 100-1.
The chances were bad, he said, but it was still worth fighting on.