Honoring the will of the lowest common denominator - the worst polluters and most resistant policy makers in the world - 191 countries negotiating global greenhouse emission limits in Bali have come to a “compromise” that doesn't mention actual limits.
Canada can take much of the credit for this non-result. With the United States and Japan, Canada was one of the most enthusiastic holdouts against making binding commitments. But having refused to sign the original Kyoto Accord, the U.S. was not allowed to attend some of the Bali meetings, leaving it to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minions to run interference for the Americans.
Job well done, apparently. The only mention of near-term targets for emission reductions are buried in footnotes in the “Bali road map” - the metaphorical way forward in which we all get to drive our SUVs to hell on Earth.
The Europeans, gracious to a fault, are so far trying to spin this as something more than an historic waste of time. And, given the recalcitrance of the current leaders in Canada and the U.S., it's hard to imagine what preferable result was available.
Never mind. As Al Gore pointed out on Thursday, the U.S. will be under new management soon enough. The only question is whether Canadians will also effect a change - or whether the Harper Conservatives will finally get a clue on global warming.
Either scenario would work.