The date for the UN climate talks in Copenhagen is fast approaching. The Climate Change Conference is scheduled to take place December 7-19, and as the time draws closer, there seems to be increasing doubt that the results of this conference will make a significant difference. A Reuters article by Louis Charbonneau says the UN has officially lowered its expectations of reaching a binding agreement and is hoping instead for a “nonbinding political declaration” that would be followed by additional talks. According to the article, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is spinning this as positively as possible saying the participants must “continue to aim for an ambitious politically binding agreement in Copenhagen that would chart the way for future post-Copenhagen negotiations that lead to a legally binding global agreement.” I’m not sure that’s likely to happen. Although there has been some optimism voiced along the way that China and other rapidly developing countries would jump on the green bandwagon, it has never been a very realistic expectation. Limiting CO2 emissions would seriously constrain China’s growth. The country may well be thinking about the damage domestic industrial pollution is doing, but the cold hard truth is that for the time being, China isn’t willing to trade off profits, increased GDP, and a higher standard of living for a cleaner environment. Some have blamed the present slowdown in momentum in the run-up to Copenhagen to the fact that the US has failed to pass its own green energy bill. In the past, the US resisted mandatory carbon emissions limits, and now, although President Obama is trying to reverse the country’s policy on climate change, he hasn’t been able to deliver. Obama supports mandatory emission limits, but he can’t seem to get the US legislature behind him. The US climate change is still not ready for approval, and there isn’t any reason to expect it to move forward in the next couple of weeks. The countdown is on, but there might not be a liftoff at the end. In fact, the Climate Change Conference might just turn out to be a dud.