It was time to put up or shut up.
Delegates to the United Nations climate conference in Cancun knew if they came out of the talks empty-handed, the whole effort to reach a global warming treaty could collapse. The agreement that emerged over the past weekend made just enough progress to keep the talks alive for another year.
The end result fell far short of what’s needed to stop climate change, and major areas of disagreement weren’t even touched.
But given the low expectations going into the conference, the Cancun agreement does provide badly-needed momentum for a U.N. process that was in danger of sputtering out.
I came away from Cancun with the sense that some of the most interesting action on climate change is going to come from two directions that have little to do with Congress or international negotiations.