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United Nations negotiations on climate change have opened in Nairobi with the focus, according to the BBC, on helping poorer countries adapt. This is the 12th set of U.N. climate talks since the Rio Earth Summit of 1992. A U.N.
Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz urged at a CGD event that U.S. trade partners ask the WTO for authority to impose countervailing duties on exports of U.S. steel and other energy-intensive products that benefit unfairly from Washington’s refusal to join the Kyoto Protocol limiting carbon and other greenhouse gasses.
There is a precedent for such duties, Stiglitz said, because Washington previously obtained a World Trade Organization ruling in support of a U.S. ban on the import of shrimp caught in Thailand using nets that killed endangered species of turtles.
California has taken the lead on U.S. efforts to combat global warming with a landmark agreement between Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Democrats on legislation that would require big cuts in carbon emissions. A law expected to pass California’s Democratic-controlled lower house today would cut carbon gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a 25 percent reduction. Schwarzenegger, who faces a re-election campaign in the fall, announced yesterday that he would sign the law.
I am pleased to announce the release of the 2006 edition of the Commitment to Development Index. Each year the CDI rates and ranks 21 rich countries on how much their policies help or hurt poorer nations. The CDI assigns scores in seven policy areas (foreign aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology), with the average being the overall score.
A 19-nation poll conducted for the BBC and released on the eve of the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg finds huge majorities worried about climate change and other negative impacts of the ways that energy is produced and used, and supportive of government actions to address these risks. In countries as different as the U.S., Russia, Kenya and Brazil, majorities express concern that current energy policies pose the triple threats of harming the Earth’s climate, destabilizing the global economy, and sparking conflict and wars.
Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson normally makes lots of sense but I think he missed the mark on Wednesday in Global Warming’s Real Inconvenient Truth (free registration required). Samuelson starts with a quote from a column he wrote in 1997:
Global warming may or may not be the great environmental crisis of the next century, but -- regardless of whether it is or isn't -- we won't do much about it.
Al Gore’s unusual film, An Inconvenient Truth, brings together much of what you already know about global warming and a few important facts that you might not know. More importantly, it is a remarkable effort to bring science into the public debate and from there into the creation of more effective public policy.