You have to have some sympathy for some of the negotiators at the Bali UN climate conference. They have to sit and look at the smug faces of the American delegation knowing that the US under George Bush really does not give a damn about the environment, and if they are going to get any sort of agreement it will be a watered down waste of time, and that, it appears, is what we have got.
Some might argue that any deal is better than no deal. Perhaps this is true, but what we have got after the so called "US U-turn" is an agreement with a lack of firm targets for reducing emissions. it also now commits the UN to two years of discussions before anything is to be done, which is just what the planet could do without right now.
I heard one environmental campaigner make the point yesterday that it would have been better to sign a deal without the US. Then, with the US and the Republicans looking intransigent on the issue, the climate would have become more of an issue in the elections in the US, as it was in Australia just a few weeks ago. This would have then forced the Republicans in to a corner and would have seen the Democrats, who are far more friendly to the environment, pushing even harder on this issue.
So whilst some will be pleased that a watered down deal was signed with the US involved, personally I don't think it would have been better to get most nations to sign up to a good deal that works, even if that does not include America.