"The agreement will do almost nothing to slow down greenhouse gases," says Lemonick. "We are doomed to global warming — what we're arguing about is how much, and when."
How much: a rise in temperature of between 10 and 20 degrees. When: sometime before the year 2100. That's if nothing is done. And if Trent Lott has his way, nothing will be. "The Senate will not ratify a flawed climate treaty," said the majority leader Wednesday, referring to exemptions for China and other developing nations. But in the light of a century of skin cancers and shrinking coastlines, Lott's objections may seem petty. If the world's largest polluter doesn't lead by example, some might ask, who will?