Climate Change and Tonight’s Debate

A key issue is missing from the list of topics for tonight’s debate. Climate change is a global problem with global impacts, ultimately requiring a global solution.  Climate change is a threat multiplier from the point of view of national security, intensifying the risk of international conflict and terrorism. (See here for more.) It has been a subject of U.S. diplomacy for more than twenty years, and it fully deserves a place in tonight’s foreign affairs debate.

The United States has been committed to international action on climate change for the past twenty years.  In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed by President George H.W. Bush and ratified by the United States Senate.  The UNFCCC recognizes that climate change is a “common concern to humankind” and commits to further negotiations. As summarized by the Congressional Research Service, the UNFCC requires the United States and other nations to:

  1. Gather and share information on GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, national policies, and best practices;
  2. Launch national strategies for addressing GHG emissions and adapting to expected impacts; and
  3. Cooperate in preparing for the impacts of climate change.

Since 1992, negotiations have continued about a follow-up agreement setting specific emission limits.  The Kyoto Protocol, which the U.S. did not join, was intended to be such a treaty.  An informal agreement on targets was created in Copenhagen, but it isn’t legally binding. So an enforceable agreement on limits remains to be created.

Although climate change isn’t listed as a topic for the debate, it could still become part of the discussion.  One of the listed topics is “The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World.” China and U.S. are the two key parties in climate negotiations, being the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases.  After years of resistance, China has now indicated that it may be open to legally binding emissions limitations.

It would be entirely appropriate if the discussion of “The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World” turned toward consideration of climate change.This issue is clearly on the U.S.-China agenda.  And it relates to “tomorrow’s world” — the other half of the topic — in a uniquely powerful way.  Let’s hope that tonight’s discussion takes this turn rather than overlooking one of the key issues facing the world today.

 

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Reader Comments

2 Replies to “Climate Change and Tonight’s Debate”

  1. There is another burning topic that is missing from tonight’s debate, and which is probably the reason why climate change is not being addressed. I am a Yale Law School-educated attorney and whistleblower who reported international corruption to the US Congress. Robert Zoellick, former President of the World Bank, fired me after 20 years in the World Bank’s legal department in retaliation and covered up the corruption. I testified to the UK Parliament and EU Parliaments. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmintdev/writev/402/contents.htm
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/201105/20110518ATT19540/20110518ATT19540EN.pdf
    This cover-up of corruption is now about to cause a currency war and downgrade in the US credit rating. Mitt Romney hired Robert Zoellick as his national security transition planning chief.

    Congress is refusing to disburse the World Bank’s capital increase because of this cover-up of corruption. http://www.whistleblower.org/storage/documents/whistleblowerlanguageinHR2055.pdf

    With corruption at the World Bank, the United States lost the 66 year old Gentlemen’s Agreement for the US to appoint the president of the World Bank http://www.imf.org/external/np/cm/2010/042510.htm What to watch for in tonight’s debate is whether the cover-up of corruption will continue, or whether the candidates will have to respond to a question about what they intend to do to fight this corruption.

  2. There is another burning topic that is missing from tonight’s debate, and which is probably the reason why climate change is not being addressed. I am a Yale Law School-educated attorney and whistleblower who reported international corruption to the US Congress. Robert Zoellick, former President of the World Bank, fired me after 20 years in the World Bank’s legal department in retaliation and covered up the corruption. I testified to the UK Parliament and EU Parliaments. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmintdev/writev/402/contents.htm
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/201105/20110518ATT19540/20110518ATT19540EN.pdf
    This cover-up of corruption is now about to cause a currency war and downgrade in the US credit rating. Mitt Romney hired Robert Zoellick as his national security transition planning chief.

    Congress is refusing to disburse the World Bank’s capital increase because of this cover-up of corruption. http://www.whistleblower.org/storage/documents/whistleblowerlanguageinHR2055.pdf

    With corruption at the World Bank, the United States lost the 66 year old Gentlemen’s Agreement for the US to appoint the president of the World Bank http://www.imf.org/external/np/cm/2010/042510.htm What to watch for in tonight’s debate is whether the cover-up of corruption will continue, or whether the candidates will have to respond to a question about what they intend to do to fight this corruption.

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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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