Coaxing Climate Policy Leadership

Steven Vanderheiden

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    5 Citations (Scopus)
    38 Downloads (Pure)


    With the failure of the international community to negotiate a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol in late 2011, and with little prospect of U.S. ratification of any treaty framework that includes binding greenhouse emission targets, hope for a sustainable and effective international climate policy appears dim. As of 2012, only Australia, New Zealand, and the EuropeanUnion continue to endorse binding post-Kyoto greenhouse emissions targets, with countries representing half the emissions controlled under Kyoto rejecting any further binding mitigation commitments in the absence of a treaty framework that includes the United States. Further, the remaining commitments are likely to be tested by political and economic turmoil that strains the ability of the governments to maintain them. While the 'roadmap' that emerged from the seventeenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)'held in Durban, South Africa'calls for a post-Kyoto treaty to be negotiated by 2015 and to take effect by 2020, ongoingreluctance by China, India, and the United States to accept binding emissions caps threatens to frustrate progress toward any such future agreement. Given the rapidly closing window of opportunity to begin reversing current trends of increasing global emissions and to eventually stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at levels that would prevent the dire consequences predicted by 'business as usual' trajectories, significant mitigation action remains urgently needed, with climate change adaptation programs becoming increasingly important.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)463-479
    Number of pages17
    JournalEthics and International Affairs
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


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