Americans Arrogant at UN Climate Conference (COP15)

03/18/2010 05:12 am 05:12:02 | Updated May 25, 2011

American bombast and European Union snark were on full display at Day One of the UNFCC in Copenhagen today. U.S. Envoy Jonathan Pershing said "there is a deal to be done" in Copenhagen but relented that it would not be a treaty. He was a bit testy at the first U.S. delegation press event Monday.

Scolding delegates and reporters that "the U.S. is only accounting for one-fifth of the carbon emissions" problem, admonishing that the "rest of the world must work, too," to reduce CO2 greenhouse gases, Pershing seemed a bit like a boxer slugging his way out of the corner. Following right on the heels of the Swedish Ambassador's comments that the U.S. must step-up and put more emission reductions on the table, our U.S. Envoy was clearly on the ropes, on his heels.

Pershing said: "the U.S. believes there is not enough structure to make a legally binding agreement for a legal treaty," calling the Copenhagen proceedings a "political meeting." He did call for action but said "Copenhagen is not the end of the process."The European Union Representative from Sweden said: "we have a mandate here" (at COP15). Frederick Reinfeldt, EU representative, said that "sufficient pressure must be placed on the U.S. and China. He then went out on a limb about deforestation and our stance on rain forest.

The delegates and the media are concerned that our commitment to carbon reduction is based on 2005 estimate levels of emission. One reporter called it "a dangerous precedent" to set cap guidelines based on earlier measures.

While the "curve is promising," said Sweden's envoy, the U.S. is still too low and our country can "deliver better" numbers. Sweden holds the EU presidency this year and carries its change mandate.

Quoting again, the U.S. Envoy retorted ten minutes later that the U.S. is committed to the "strongest outome from Copenhagen" and we came to "reach a deal." He called the 42 percent carbon reduction and greenhouse gas target by 2030 a big deal. The U.S. has already committed to pay it's "fair share" of what is expected to be a global pool of between $10 and $12 Billion for compensation to other countries based on our per capita fossil fuel usage and emissions.

Copenhagen announced here that it wants to reduce its Carbon Footprint to Zero by 2025. It is commiting to CO2 gas reductions of 15 percent in the next 6 years alone with wind power picking up the slack. The town of just over 1 million, putting on an amazing opening night program, has already made a 20 percent reduction since 1990. So U.S. efforts and early commitments here seem to fall short of the mark.

Mike Smith (@smittypa on twitter) is blogging from the COP15 UN Conference in Copenhagen