Climate change treaty has become the pariah of international politics. An international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions has been elusive at best, supported by some, ignored by others, and outright scorned by a few. The United Nations Climate Change Conference opening in Copenhagen next week is the fifteenth time the parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change have met. The UNFCC grew out of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro as a nonbinding agreement to limit carbon emissions. Frustratingly little has been accomplished in those fifteen meetings outside of the Kyoto Protocol, which in and of itself has been less than effective.
Few expect anything substantial to emerge from the Copenhagen meeting—world leaders scrapped any chance of reaching a binding agreement at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Singapore last month.Rather, Copenhagen will become a stage where old ideas will be rehashed and new ideas will be assessed. Emissions caps are sure to be a hot topic, but also at the forefront will be programs to assist developing nations leapfrog carbon-heavy economic transformations.
As the Copenhagen meeting comes and passes, Expertly Wrapped will be exploring emissions trading, carbon taxes, emissions caps, and other environmental, economic, and policy-oriented issues that surround climate change and international efforts to deal with it. We will report on relevant Kellogg faculty research and views, dig deeper into news items as they arise, and contribute our own expertise on the topic. Look for our coverage in “Clearing the Air,” a series of special reports.