Energy & Environment

What is at stake if world leaders fail to act when they meet in Copenhagen in December for the World Climate Conference? (October 8, 2009)


Read full discussion >

A nation of Neros

Jamie Cate

We live like kings.  At least that’s what most of the world thinks of Americans, economic downturn notwithstanding.  And humanity throughout history would see us the same way.  How did we get to the quality of life that would make emperors jealous?  We got here with fossil fuels, and lots of them.  The energy sector accounts for many trillions of dollars a year in the world economy.

What can we expect out of any agreement in Copenhagen?  We can look at the example of Kyoto, and see that nations will find any number of accounting loopholes to get out of meeting … More >

Comments to "A nation of Neros":
    • Rob Fox Fascinating discussion! Alice Friedmann is right on in saying that it's up to citizens to take action. But maybe not so much to "overcome economic interests of corporations" as take action to re-direct their economic interests. After all, citizens form the market that corporations ... More >
    • trusts The problem with Copenhagen is that the American federal government is set to act on behalf of the American people, and we haven't found a way yet to properly poll people on this particular issue.

What’s Next After Copenhagen?

Dan Farber

A year or two ago, people expected Copenhagen to produce the equivalent of the Kyoto Protocol – a comprehensive climate roadmap for the next decade or more. It seems unlikely that the Copenhagen meeting will live up to those expectations, although there’s always the chance of a last-minute surprise.

What does seem clear, however, is that progress is being made on many fronts. Within the U.S., states like California are charging ahead, the federal courts remain active, and the Obama Administration is proposing CO2 regulations under the existing Clean Air Act. Congress is inching its way toward a … More >

Comments to "What’s Next After Copenhagen?":
    • Alex Fortison Its no longer worth pretending that climate change alarmism is a majority opinion. Both international opinion polls and actions by political leaders indicate a clear shift away from any climate priorities. The movement is desperately retreating to Kyoto. Whatever your preferred ... More >
    • Peter Kuria Are the Kyoto mechanisms “Fit for Purpose?” How to convert poor peoples undeclared assets into private equity! The mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol have managed to create carbon markets which according to the World Bank2, and industry leaders will be worth billions of ... More >
    • Alice Friedemann World leaders will not act soon and strongly enough without extraordinary pressure from their citizens, who need to speak and act with enough force to overcome the economic interests of corporations. The time spent on life cycles and how to make entities pay for cap and trade ... More >

The Urgency of a Low-Carbon Economy

Daniel Kammen

The world and the US need a victory on climate – but thankfully important innovations taking place in both the science and policy worlds offer hope that climate protection and economic productivity could be brought together to serve both. More >

Comments to "The Urgency of a Low-Carbon Economy":
    • We in the double glazing industry have 'done our bit' in trying to ensure less fuel is used in heating our homes and thus a saving on our worlds energy. If all Industries also did their bit, maybe there would be no need for all our concern.
    • chirurgie esthetique The need to end our dependence on carbon dioxide releasing fossil fuels is perceived to be a defining issue of our time.

The climate won’t wait for an inadequate international agreement

John Harte

Something will be agreed upon in Copenhagen…the real issue is whether or not it will be effective in dealing with the enormous threat to civilization posed by sea level rise, drought and famine, ecosystem destruction, and other consequences of climate warming.  My concern is that action in Copenhagen will simply take the form of agreement on one or the other of the two types of target currently being discussed: keeping the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere below some critical value,  say 400 parts per million, or keeping the temperature increase below some critical value, say 2 degrees Celsius. Targets … More >

Comments to "The climate won’t wait for an inadequate international agreement":
    • Lars In the review to the past - let's agree that there were no really good arrangements made in Copenhagen. And from the view of a not really well speaking German, just let me say that I think America and especially the USA are one of the biggest problems for the environment.
    • jbkahn Writing about climate in the HuffPost, John and Mary Ellen Harte address the elephant in the room, the almost taboo matter of population.
    • trusts You're exactly right on with this comment. I live in a part of the country where people like to have very large families. Why can't these people just take a look at the damage this is doing to our water, air, soil? They can't see beyond their own, distorted religious beliefs that ... More >

Toward climate-change mitigation

William Nazaroff

The global population is 6 billion and our collective use of fossil fuels — coal, oil, and natural gas — releases to the atmosphere about 6 billion tons of carbon in the form of carbon dioxide every year.  Under “business as usual,” emissions will continue to rise, perhaps tripling by the end of this century.  That trajectory would very likely cause major climate disruption with a high probability of serious ecological damage.  The resulting strains on our infrastructure would be huge, with grave risks to our economic and political systems.  Conversely, to limit the atmospheric carbon dioxide level to no … More >

Read full discussion >