Saturday, November 04, 2006

Global Warming and Climate Change

Report's stark warning on climate & Protesters Urge Climate Action Before Kenya Meet

More than 20,000 protesters rallied in London ahead of the United Nations climate talks scheduled to begin in two week in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of these talks is to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012. This protest was held on the heels of a recent report released by World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern, where he warned of an impending economic collapse unless emissions of fossil fuels are drastically reduced.

Stern’s report released in late October declared that climate change “represents the widest-ranging market failure ever seen.” He stated that spending money on measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions could yield major dividends and it is therefore “irrational” not to spend the money. According to Stern’s economic models, if nations do not arrest environmental degradation in the coming years, there would be a permanent reduction in consumption per head by 20%. However, to effectively stop environmental degradation, expenses would have to be incurred which would reduce global consumption per head by only 1% .

1. What should the agenda for the Nairobi talks be – should the focus be on the developed world reducing its emissions or the developing world? What can be done to ensure that all countries participate in reducing global emissions and how can the free rider problem in this context be eliminated?

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