Secretary of State Clinton arrived in Copenhagen last night to find the UN climate change negotiations at a standstill, with China’s representatives refusing to accept a deal requiring them to provide transparency on emissions. Clinton described China’s no-transparency position a "deal-breaker... All major countries [must] stand behind full transparency." Britain's energy and climate minister, Ed Miliband, warned that the two-week conference risked becoming "a farce... We may not get there on the substance. It is quite possible we'll fail on the substance. But at least let's give it a try." In that spirit, Clinton threw "a climate change Hail Mary," as Politico puts it.

Secretary Clinton arrived to pledge U.S. participation in a multinational fund to provide poor nations with $100 billion a year by 2020. The fund would go to developing nations who bear the brunt of global warming, and could, Clinton said, use proceeds from cap-and-trade revenues or carbon taxes. "The U.S. pledge to support a $100 billion fund by 2020 for developing countries has the potential to change the dynamic of these talks, leading the poor countries to put pressure on China to make a deal," said Paul W. Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House official.

Indeed, Secretary Clinton told the conference, "It would be hard to imagine, speaking for the United States, that there could be the level of financial commitment I have just announced in the absence of transparency from [China], the [world’s] second biggest emitter." But today China's Climate Change Ambassador Yu Qingtai told Reuters, "I can assure you that the Chinese delegation came to Copenhagen with hope and have not given it up. Copenhagen is too important to fail."

Friends of the Earth issued a statement in response to Clinton's pledge: "It's good to see the United States finally talking about putting longer term funding on the table to solve the climate crisis, but the proposal announced today is hollow. The amount falls far short of what the United Nations says is needed. Inadequate funding will condemn the poorest to languish in poverty while the world suffers from climate chaos."

President Barack Obama will arrive in Copenhagen tomorrow for the final day of the conference, and a 20-member delegation of House members, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, arrived last night. Sources tell Politico that Obama will push for "a short, noncommittal collective statement" at the end of the talks. Wow, a statement is just what the melting ice caps need! Yesterday Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told the conference: "I fear a triumph of inaction over action."