YESTERDAY was not a good day for the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
There are always such days in international conferences of this kind but Tuesday's was a little too close to the scheduled end of the Conference on Friday for comfort. Of course, the clocks can be stopped at 2359 on Friday and left there as long as necessary through the weekend, but such a prospect might cause the national leaders expected today and tomorrow to stay away in order to avoid being associated with failure. In fact the key players should make a point of turning up to emphasize the importance of a positive outcome of the Conference.

It is unfortunate that the Danish hosts of the Conference are showing signs of panic under pressure. After a second walk-out of African delegates yesterday the Danish chairwoman of the Conference, Connie Hedegard, a former Climate minister, said: “It's just like schoolchildren. If they have a very long deadline to deliver an exercise they will wait for the last moment. It's basically as simple as that.” It's not like that at all, Ms Hedegard. It's a matter of the future of our planet, whatever the “climate change deniers” may claim, and those of us with a chance to ensure that future generations will not have insuperable problems to face need to back the current negotiations so that they either reach an agreement this week or keep open options for further efforts next year.


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