U.N. chats amongst itself re: climate change

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You could be forgiven for not knowing that the U.N. is meeting in New York this week to wring its collective hands over climate change. The conventional wisdom holds that all the U.N. handwringing in the world won’t matter until the U.S. decides to get on board, which according to various zodiacal signs is scheduled to happen sometime in 2009.

But Matthew Yglesias suggests that this week’s meetings actually do matter. The argument in a nutshell is that the Kyoto Accord was always meant to be a weak precursor to a more potent successor treaty in 2012. And according to the internal logic of U.N. negotiations, the time to kick off discussions of that successor treaty is…today.

None of that makes this week’s meetings any less boring, but apparently they actually are important. On the other hand, for a strong dose of conventional wisdom, see here and here.

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