Saturday, December 10, 2011

Decentralized Versus Centralized Response To Global Warming

This article looks at the problems of making progress on responses to the threats from global warming. The US environmental policy negotiator recently concluded in S. Africa suggested that any response to global warming will involve making decisions about the areas that are at the heart of national economies. They are too important to be left to environmental officials like himself. The Copenhagen meeting, however, included top government officials like President Obama, and the results were disappointing. Efforts to reach global agreements through the UN have also been unproductive. They pit the interests of the developed nations against those of the undeveloped nations who believe that the developed nations bear the responsibility for our current problems. That positioning is no longer relevant now that China is the largest emitter of carbon and developing nations like India and Brazil are growing faster than developed nations.

If one looks at the US, the State of California has made a larger contribution to carbon reduction than any other government body. It may be the case that the issues are too political for Congress to resolve, and that state and local governments, along with progressive corporations, will be left with the responsibility to do what Congress is unable to do.

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