Read: The Economist, “Stopping Climate Change”

Posted in Current Events by mcarmen5 on 12/11/2009

My initial goal in trying to create some kind of coherent theme was to create a Monday briefing for the week.  It’s now Thursday.  Better late than never?

Read/news brief of the week comes from a special report on climate change in the Economist.  I’m sure you’ve heard enough about global warming and the importance of recycling, but it’s always good to be informed on the issues on why your planet is “kind of” in trouble.

The UN is hosting a climate change conference this month in Copenhagen, and there’s a lot of optimism surrounding it.  Still, I can’t imagine much being accomplished this round — besides finger-pointing and a strong aversion to taking responsibility.  The issue is too complex.

As you’ll pick up, one of the main problems in dealing with an issue like climate change is responsibility.  It’s probably one of the biggest roadblocks to cementing any kind of coherent policy.  How do we measure state responsibility and how do we formulate a “fair” policy that takes in to consideration all the variables and differences in development and industry of each country?  What about enforcement and authority?

Maple leaves against sunlight in May in Helsinki. Photo © 2004 by Ilmari Karonen.

While the Economist’s special report doesn’t offer any answers, it does offer a few insightful pieces like, “Is it worth mitigating climate change,” and why investors are not/may not be supporting “green technology.”  No solutions, but it gets the brain ticking, so when someone happens to bring up climate change, your best answer at the next cocktail party/cafe won’t be, “Um, well I think global warming is bad,” or worse, “I just think we need to be more green.” :)

Here’s an excerpt that captures the Economist‘s main gist:

A hard sell
It’s all about politics. Climate change is the hardest political problem the world has ever had to deal with. It is a prisoner’s dilemma, a free-rider problem and the tragedy of the commons all rolled into one. At issue is the difficulty of allocating the cost of collective action and trusting other parties to bear their share of the burden … Climate change has been a worldwide worry for only a couple of decades. Mankind has no framework for it.” (p. 4, special report)”


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