Forty years ago, the Club of Rome produced a best-selling report warning humanity that its escalating wants were on a collision course with the world's finite resources and that the only way to avoid a crash was to stop chasing economic growth. The predictions proved spectacularly wrong. But the environmental alarmism they engendered persists, making it harder for policymakers to respond rationally to real problems today.
The Copenhagen conference won't solve the problem of climate change once and for all. Rather than aiming for a broad international treaty, negotiators should strengthen existing national policies and seek targeted emissions cuts in both rich nations and the developing world.
Authors: David G. Victor, M. Granger Morgan, Jay Apt, John D. Steinbruner, and Katharine Ricke
As climate change accelerates, policymakers may have to consider "geoengineering" as an emergency strategy to cool the planet. Engineering the climate strikes most as a bad idea, but it is time to start taking it seriously.
Author: Michael A. Levi Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements
Michael Levi proposes the creation of a new multilateral mechanism for climate policy review, so as to better evaluate the success understand the viability of the climate policies of both developing and developed nations.
Asked by Fagner Dantas, from Universidade Federal da Bahia
The global energy map is being redrawn at an accelerated pace. All signs point to the United States becoming part of an increasingly hemispheric energy trade, both for oil as well as for biofuels like ethanol. The Middle East will still loom large in U.S. energy policy given its crucial role in the world oil market, but U.S. energy officials and companies are forging deeper ties with their counterparts elsewhere in the Americas.
Listen to Rick Boucher, U.S. representative from Virginia (D), and Ernest J. Moniz, professor of physics at MIT, discuss the current state of clean coal technology and specific climate change legislation under consdideration in Congress.
A possible transfer of political power in the congressional midterm elections could doom short-term chances for a comprehensive climate bill. But experts say climate issues could still be addressed through bills focused on clean energy.
The UN conference on climate change that begins December 7 in Copenhagen is supposed to produce new targets for emissions reductions, but experts say major countries are at odds on the ultimate goal of a new framework. This backgrounder looks at some of their positions.
Authors: Suan Ee Ong, Rômulo S. R. Sampaio, Andrei Marcu, and Agathe Maupin and Elizabeth Sidiropoulos
Although this year's Rio+20 conference produced only vague goals and few concrete commitments, it provided a major opportunity to shift the global environmental focus to the national and local levels, says this Expert Roundup.
This in-depth study of twelve producer, processing and consumer countries demonstrates that actions taken by governments, civil society and the private sector over the last ten years in response to illegal logging and related trade have been extensive and had a considerable impact.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.