Climate of Skepticism Swells in Copenhagen Leaders all but abandon hopes for binding treaty this year By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Dec 7, 2009 6:37 AM CST 30 comments Comments Delegates follow the opening ceremony of the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, Dec. 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) (Newser) – Global warming talks kick off today in Copenhagen, but leaders have already largely given up hope of a binding international treaty amid a climate of swirling skepticism toward the issue. The “climategate” emails do little to debunk two decades of climate science, scientists and policymakers tell the New York Times, but they’ve given skeptics an opening. Saudi Arabia, for example, is openly questioning the scientific basis for the talks. Recent polls show that global warming doubt is on the rise in the US and Britain, and to skeptics, the emails prove the existence of a conspiracy to push through costly greenhouse gas cuts. But scientists say the case is stronger now than it was a decade ago. “There will remain after the dust settles in this controversy a very strong scientific consensus,” says President Obama’s top scientific adviser.