Back in September, Heritage fellow James Roberts wrote of the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh:

In the past 10 months, the leaders of the G-8 and G-20 nations have met three times at elaborate and expensive summits to address the world’s financial woes. … Originally a Group of Six–France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States–with Canada added in 1977, the G-7 process attempted to deal with the OPEC oil shock-induced economic crises of the 1970s as well as the need to re-design the post-World War II Bretton Woods international monetary system that had been based on the gold standard.

At 20 members, however, the group is starting to approach the size, complexity, and divisiveness of other existing multilateral bodies, such as the economic commissions and councils of the United Nations. … In the past, dramatic high-level meetings had some impact because they were rare. Now, publicity-hungry politicians have gone to the well too often. The seemingly never-ending series of summits and high-level meetings have become almost irrelevant in terms of rallying public opinion.

At NRO, Conrad Black surveys the mess in Copenhagen and comes to a very similar conclusion:

Copenhagen is the epitome of modern summitting: a long session, a huge cast earnestly discussing what there is no chance of agreeing on, to reach compromises everyone will then ignore, promising to avoid doing what all decry and will continue to do, suspecting that it is not really damaging anyway.

There is just a chance that this conference will be such a burlesque that the world’s leaders will slow down, stay home, stop calling pleasure trips to interpreters’ conventions and elocution competitions summits, and leave such discussions to policy specialists, who won’t excite nonsensical expectations or distract the media.