U.S. negotiators had already wrong-footed the Europeans Monday with its differential greenhouse gas plan — each nation would get its own reduction target. Europe scoffed at that one, claiming it was a bid to get America off the climate change hook. But what of the 5 percent plan? Are both proposals being offered simultaneously? Throw in the presence of Senator Chuck Hagel from Nebraska, who spent his day threatening Third World representatives, and you have a recipe for palpable confusion.
It might be expected that Al Gore will explain everything when he arrives next week — except it was Gore himself who played bad cop Tuesday. "We are perfectly prepared to walk away from an agreement that we don't think will work," said the environmentalist Veep. Now that's a poker face.