The first few speeches were from College and National dignitaries and the keynote address by an Indian statistician. He calculated carbon emissions back to 1850. Determined the total carbon budget for 1850-2050 (given that we only want a 50% chance of not hitting +2C in that period), then presented national carbon budgets based on per capita equality (2010 population). You can probably see the picture at this time: If you take 2010 populations, give everyone in the world an equal share of carbon (but go backward in time to calculate that share), the US is way over-budget and running in the red while India and China should be using a lot more carbon than they presently are. This, of course, is one of the issues at the UN Doha talks, where India has reneged on it's pledge to reduce emissions and now demands "equality." How we (as a world) define "equality" is a very sticky, tricky matter, but regardless of how it's defined, the U.S. is the hog of the world. The big bully refusing to let starving kids have any of the cake. I can tell you I was squirming during that talk and several others in the conference.
And, of course, the issue cannot be solved by either extreme: India cannot have the right to make up for its last 150 years as a low-carbon society and the US cannot continue life-as-usual, much less increase our dependance on fossil fuels. Yet, since no one is willing to budge, I don't see any real solutions on the horizon. I can only assume that my grandkids will be living in a pretty miserable world. Living a stone's throw (a really long stone's throw, someone in the Hindu pantheon has probably thrown a stone that far) from the Maldives on one side, Bangladesh on another, and millions of people living on low-lying coastal plains in between I am saddened by what I see in store for our world. India doesn't have room to accommodate its garbage, much less the 40-125 million people expected to be displaced by predicted levels of sea level rise.
On a lighter (a little lighter) note: my favorite quote of the conference came from a student presentation on reducing fossil fuel dependance when she announced in a shocked voice that even her maid had a refrigerator. This student also included "increased irritability," in her bulleted list of the effects of global warming on Mumbai. Mumbai, which already has average annual high temps in the 30's (just under 90F), summer temps that go to well-over 100F, and humidity levels that are through the roof, would certainly see more grumpy people were those temps to get even higher. So, anyway, when you open the fridge to see what's for dinner, remember, for most people in the world, that little act is a luxury they dream of.