April 25, 2008
With food and other commodity prices skyrocketing in recent months, energy and climate change have been all over the news. Despite this, argues CGD research assistant Kevin Ummel in Not Too Hot: American Opinion of Global Warming and Why It Doesn't Matter, new poll data suggests we shouldn't hold our breath for a "great awakening" on climate change issues. "While 61% [of Americans] believe the effects of global warming have already begun, just 37% worry about it a ‘great deal,'" a number that hasn't changed much in 20 years. Even Europe, which will be adding coal power plants in coming years (see Inside CARMA), seems to be of two minds on environmental policy. So does car-crazy California, which just announced an agreement to assist China on environmental policy (see links below). Ummel's money is on a "minority in the private sector bolstered by a small number of public sectors" that quickly develop a few key technologies capable of "beating fossil fuels on cost alone in the very near future."
On a lighter note, we want to highlight two interesting uses of CARMA and CGD climate research. First, Asthma Mom blogs about her daughter's asthma and helpful online asthma resources, using CARMA.org to help ascertain air quality as her family plans a move to another city. And second, a graph in Al Gore's new presentation on climate change bears a striking resemblance to one Ummel and I published in Another Inconvenient Truth: A Carbon-Intensive South Faces Environmental Disaster, No Matter What the North Does.
As always, below is a selection of important articles on climate and development from the past two weeks. My thanks to Robin Kraft for his help in preparing this letter.
Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
China carmakers go green in drive for profit (Financial Times)
World's biggest polluters stumble over specific emissions cuts (International Herald Tribune)
California to sign UN compact to help China cut emissions (Associated Press)
18 states commit to take action on climate change (Wired News)
Governors' conference aims to make climate change personal (ArsTechnica)
Bay Area businesses may pay fee for emissions (San Francisco Chronicle)
U.S. Climate Plan Is Panned (Wall Street Journal)
Our Favorite Planet (Nicholas Kristof, New York Times)