The New Politics of Climate Change

Thursday, 24 June 2010, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
The Copenhagen meeting ended with few tangible achievements nor any clear plan for future diplomacy on global warming. This talk will show that these troubles are fundamental to the strategy of broad UN-based talks that aim, as in Copenhagen, for universal agreement on binding treaties. A new approach is needed. The talk will show, using lessons from the history of international economic cooperation, that other approaches focused on smaller groups of countries and more flexible legal instruments would be much more effective. It will also show that even in the best scenario the world is likely to experience substantial changes in climate, requiring nations to make massive investments to adapt to new climate conditions. Changes may also be so severe that radical “geoengineering” systems may be needed to blunt the effects of rapid warming.

David G. Victor is a Professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego, where he directs the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation. Until 2009, Victor served as director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, where he was also a professor at Stanford Law School.

His books include: Natural Gas and Geopolitics (Cambridge University Press, 2006), The Collapse of the Kyoto Protocol and the Struggle to Slow Global Warming (Princeton University Press, second edition 2004), Climate Change: Debating America’s Policy Options (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2004), and Technological Innovation and Economic Performance (Princeton University Press, 2002, co-edited with Benn Steil and Richard Nelson). Victor is author of more than 150 essays and articles in scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers, such as Climatic Change, The Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Nature, The New York Times, Science, and The Washington Post.

Comment: Alexander Van der Bellen, Member of the Austrian Parliament and Spokesperson of the Austrian Green Party for International Developments and Foreign Policy.

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