State Dept. drafted Copenhagen failure speech for Obama

A top State Department negotiator at last month’s Copenhagen climate summit said Wednesday that the talks were in such bad shape when President Obama arrived Dec. 18 that U.S. officials were preparing a default speech on the summit’s collapse.

“I was working with my delegation to draft what we could tell the President he might say when things fell apart,” said Jonathan Pershing, State’s deputy special envoy for climate change, in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “And to give that to him when he arrived om Friday morning. That's where we were.”

Obama, however, spent the day negotiating with leaders from China, India, Brazil and other countries to salvage a limited accord that fell short of expectations, but helped avoid a complete collapse of the United Nations talks.