What that means in practice, says David Waskow, Oxfam America climate change program director, is that organizers have solicited and received hundreds of pages of submissions for what should go in the final treaty, and participants are now working to boil them down. Some of these negotiations take place in large groups; others are restricted to representatives of select countries. "The knotty issues get taken completely behind closed doors," Waskow says. "There they go into much more heavy-duty negotiating."
Though Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts is heading to Poznan on behalf of Obama, observers say it will be Obama's moves over the next year, particularly the pressure he puts on Congress to enact a cap-and-trade program, that will help determine the outcome in Copenhagen. Without congressional support in the form of legislation, they note, Obama won't be able to firmly commit to specific emissions targets on the international stage.
- Read more about what environmentalists want from Obama on climate change .
- Read more from Kent Garber