I'm not usually big on conspiracy theories. It strikes me that those who believe that the moon landings never happened or that 9/11 was an inside job invariably occupy a position on the eccentricity spectrum somewhere between mildly offensive crank and full blown fantasist. And don't get me started on the "climate change is a hoax" brigade and their passing acquaintance with such tired concepts as rational thought and observable reality.
But putting aside my natural scepticism for a moment you can begin to see why the Copenhagen Summit is likely to become such a fertile source of fresh conspiracy nonsense.
With the central cast list constantly changing, the key decisions apparently being made in private rooms dotted around the cavernous conference centre, clashes with police outside, media struggling to get inside, NGOs being asked to leave, and logistics looking like they were put together after a lengthy trip round the local Heineken brewery, it is little wonder that even observers who have been close to the negotiations for years are confused by the opaqueness of proceedings. When ever people don't know what is going on, it is a short leap for them to start making it up.
In fairness, most of the problems so far appear to have been the result of cock up rather than conspiracy. But that said, the organisers have hardly helped themselves this morning with the surprise decision to replace the Summit president Connie Hedegaard with Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen. If, as was claimed, this was a procedural move why was it such a surprise? It might be entirely logical for a head of state to chair a meeting that from now on will be dominated by heads of state, but the unexpected nature of the move only serves to fuel rumours that Hedegaard has been ousted for being too sympathetic to poorer nations.
Developing countries might have thought Hedegaard was too tough on them, but if that is the case they can expect a nasty shock now Rasmussen is in charge.
Of course, the apparent personal antipathy between Hedegaard and Rasmussen is insufficiently outré to qualify as a full blown conspiracy theory, but should the talks collapse expect plenty more off-the-wall explanations to emerge.
With so many countries apparently wanting a deal to be reached, one likely source of conspiracy theories lies in the fact that an agreement that is boycotted by some developing countries would provide some benefits to those that do choose to sign up.
For example, at the time of writing the draft texts still contain room for "trade measures" that would effectively allow the imposition of carbon tariffs on products from countries that do not deliver verifiable climate change commitments.
It would be a genuine disaster for the planet and I am not for a single second suggesting that any countries are pushing for such a negative result. But if certain countries make good on their threat not to sign up, those nations and individuals in favour of protectionist measures could find themselves waking up on Saturday morning to find they have been given the international legitimacy they crave.
Hopefully, this threat of carbon tariffs will be effectively used as the ultimate bargaining chip to get all countries on board and committed to action. That is certainly the way the US team appears to be interpreting the current state of the talks, and we can only hope their game of brinkmanship with the Chinese over emissions targets, climate funding and carbon tariffs ends well for both sides.
But the very real danger is that if this carbon tariff bargaining chip fails then a flawed and unevenly supported Copenhagen deal will not only condemn us to climatic catastrophe, it will also deliver an escalating trade war to keep us occupied while we wait fior disaster.
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