Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kyoto approach to climate change isn't working  

 In February, 14 distinguished climate scientists, economists, and policy experts came together to discuss how to tackle global warming. Last week, the London School of Economics and Oxford University published their conclusions. They are worth considering.

The group was brought together by Gwyn Prins, a well-regarded expert in security policy and international relations who heads LSE's Mackinder Program for the Study of Long Wave Events. Participants included climate scientist Mike Hulme of the University of East Anglia, climate-policy expert Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado, and climate economist Christopher Green of McGill University.

The group's report, The Hartwell Paper, outlines a new direction for climate policy after the collapse of last year's attempts to negotiate a global climate deal. The authors note that 18 years of the Kyoto Protocol approach to international climate policy have failed to produce any discernable real-world reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Hartwell group proposes that we adopt three basic climate-related goals: ensuring secure, affordable energy supplies for everyone (which means developing alternatives to fossil fuels); ensuring that economic development doesn't wreak environmental havoc (which means not just reducing CO2 emissions, but also cutting pollution from burning biomass, reducing ozone, and protecting tropical forests); and making sure that we are prepared to cope with whatever climate changes might occur, man-made or natural (which means recognizing, at last, the importance of adapting to climate change). More >>>