I am not sure what turned the tide, but at the last minute, the United States agreed to join the consensus of emission reduction of 20-40% by 2020 at the Bali Environmental Summit. Still not enough but a step in the right direction. Attendees credit the delegate from Papua, New Guinea's saying to the US, "If you are not going to lead, get out of our way." It is the best environmental news since the Cayahooga River burned itself out.
For one of the best uses of metaphor I've come across in a long while in a very modern fairy tale check out Parlor Radicals by Adam Engel over at Tomas Paine's Journal.