Is it any real surprise that 11000 'delegates' in Peru failed to come to a decisive outcome over the last couple of weeks in COP20? How was that supposed to happen? The COPs, which started out as modest affairs, have grown to be circuses with all sorts of groups and factions wanting to be seen to be contributing.
Compared to the process of the Montreal Protocol, all this looks like a tango in a muddy field. Ironically, it's the Montreal Protocol that has made the biggest contribution to limiting the growth of greenhouse gases, or so said the Economist earlier this year – see this for some fine infographics. Clearly, COPs are broken, and as Reuters pointed out today, the task of finding a better process is urgent. The Economist argued that the Protocol process was one to be copied:
"The protocol won the backing of developing countries partly because they did not think its targets were being jammed down their throats, and partly because they were given plenty of money to comply with its measures. Even more important, it also won support from large chemical companies (including DuPont) which made money producing substitutes for CFCs. This widespread co-operation is a model to be copied. It will be harder with carbon, because regulating downstream emissions (which a carbon treaty must do) involves more parties than upstream production (which the protocol regulates). But the spirit—of generous financing and co-operation—is the same."
It's worth noting that the Protocol process didn't have COPs to get in the way and slow things down.