"The world of diplomacy is full of zombie negotiations and institutions — dead but still mindlessly on the move". Mead points to the unheralded WTO talks (the Doha Round) and comments, "Bureaucracies and the negotiating processes don’t stop moving forward (too many jobs and careers are at stake, too many institutions have a stake in the process for it to stop), but people ... gradually stop paying attention. This seems to be the trajectory down which the climate negotiations are also proceeding.
"Greens have historically hated the WTO, seeing it as an organization
that prioritizes growth over sustainability and that limits the ability
of countries to restrict imports of everything from Canadian oil sands
petroleum to genetically modified food. But greens have much to learn
from the Doha Round. If the nations of the world can’t agree on a
complex, universal trade package aimed at accelerating growth and
raising incomes, how likely are they to agree on an even more complex
and difficult agreement that will slow growth down and distribute losses
rather than allocate gains?
Caveat: There was some low-hanging fruit picked early on and in WTO's case, a dispute mechanism remains useful. His sub-text is that there are too many parties at the table. Walter Russell Mead has a talent for
taking informed moderate positions and making them sound original.