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David Victor's Essay on Climate Policy Featured in Foreign Affairs

The Climate Threat We Can Beat

04/24/2012
David G. Victor, Charles F. Kennel, and Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Foreign Affairs

For more than two decades, diplomats have struggled to slow global warming. They have negotiated two major treaties to achieve that goal, the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. And last year, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, they agreed to start talking about yet another treaty. A small group of countries, including Japan and the members of the European Union, now regulate their emissions in accord with the existing agreements. But most states, including the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, China and the United States, have failed to make much progress. As a result, total emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading long-term cause of global warming, have risen by more than 50 percent since the 1980s and are poised to rise by more than 30 percent in the next two to three decades.

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David G. Victor is a professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and director of the School’s new Laboratory on International Law and Regulation. His research focuses on how the design of regulatory law affects issues such as environmental pollution and the operation of major energy markets. He is the author of Global Warming Gridlock, which explains why the world has not made much diplomatic progress on the problem of climate change while also exploring new strategies that would be more effective.

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