19 May 2010

After the crash - a new direction for climate policy

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Does the failure of December's UN climate conference mean the world needs a completely new approach to tackling climate change? It does, a group of academics is arguing this week - and one of them, Mike Hulme, explains why, and what it is that they are recommending

The gap between the pre-Copenhagen rhetoric of "what must be done to stop climate change" and the reality of the Copenhagen Accord outcome was spectacular.

No agreement of much consequence was reached, and the very efficacy of multilateral climate diplomacy through large set-piece conferences was called into question.

During these same months that the multilateral policy orthodoxy unravelled, the limits were revealed of trying to use science to tame the acrimonious politics of climate change.

Climate change has been represented as a conventional environmental "problem" that is capable of being "solved."

It is neither of these. Yet this framing has locked the world into the rigid agenda that brought us to the dead end of Kyoto, with no evidence of any discernable acceleration of decarbonisation whatsoever.

So how do we extricate ourselves?

A small group of independent scholars and analysts, including myself, has published The Hartwell Paper, an attempt to offer a radically different way of framing the issues raised by climate change, and hence a different set of approaches for tackling them.

(BBC News)

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