When President Obama was elected four years ago, the international climate community cheered. Here was an American leader, they said, who would sweep aside eight years of U.S. inaction and obstruction on international climate policy and put the weight of the world's largest economy behind carbon mitigation and aid to vulnerable countries.
But delegates and observers attending the U.N. climate talks this week in Doha are more muted when discussing a second Obama term, balancing hope for the future with disappointment over what many see as the United States' lackluster performance in his first term.
The United States has insisted, for example, that it will sign a legally binding agreement to curb emissions only if China, India and other major developing emitters agree to be bound as well. It has not adopted a comprehensive carbon regime at home and has not offered specifics on what its contribution will be on aid to poor countries now and after 2020.