Thursday, February 8, 2007
Design flaws in the regime to control global climate change and their consequences (or why we need to start over)
I will begin by describing an approach to the design of an international regime for controlling global climate change that I had made to the Dept. of State in 1989/1990. There was considerable interest in the proposal and I was asked to submit a proposal. This proposal was later rejected by the the first Bush White House as a result of a decision not to support any policy research on the problem lest it incite demands for policy action. The Bush Administration did sign, and the Senate ratified, the Framework Convention on Climate Change and later the Clinton Administration signed the Kyoto Protocol. In view of the gridlock we now face on the issue, clearly apparent at the end of the December 2006 meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, it is worth reflecting on the design flaws which both contain and the consequences of those flaws. Interviews with senior governmental and industry representatives from Europe, Asia, and North America in fall 2006 suggest that the tide is now turning toward the kind of strategy I was suggesting in 1990.
Ed Miles is the Co-Director of the JISAO Center for Science in the Earth System, and the Director of the Climate Impacts Group.