Looking Past Copenhagen

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 federal cap-and-trade scheme, with encouraging signs of bipartisan support.  Internationally, China and India are showing increased flexibility about committing to long-term mitigation efforts.

So there is reason to be optimistic looking forward, even if nothing major comes out of Copenhagen.  Even Copenhagen produces surprising breakthroughs, there will be more work to come.   One way or the other, Copenhagen is just one stopping point on a long road.

This posting also appears at http://blogs.berkeley.edu/category/energy/20091008-1/

Reader Comments

3 Replies to “Looking Past Copenhagen”

  1. Regarding the future of global warming regulation, Dan said;

    “…So there is reason to be optimistic looking forward, even if nothing major comes out of Copenhagen…”

    Dear Dan,
    Such optimism may be tempered by recent reports of a global cooling trend that climate models failed to predict, and this cooling has occured during a period when human emissions of CO2 are at record high levels. This cooling trend proves the scientific fact that natural cycles have a far greater influence on global atmospheric temperature than CO2, and underscores the futility of human efforts to regulate the global climate.

    The good news is that the humanity can reasonably and safely conserve precious public resources that would otherwise be wasted on needless and unecessary regulatory programs for CO2, and use these resources for important humanitarian needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare.

  2. “This cooling trend proves the scientific fact that natural cycles have a far greater influence on global atmospheric temperature than CO2, and underscores the futility of human efforts to regulate the global climate.”

    In climate science, eleven years does not a trend make, and this data neither proves nor disproves anything. The BBC article you got your information from (see here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8299079.stm) was irresponsible.

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About Dan

Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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