New Hope on Climate Change

The world has taken an important step toward controlling climate change by agreeing to the Bali Action Plan at the global negotiations in Indonesia earlier this month. The plan may not look like much, since it basically committed the world to more talking rather than specific actions, but there are good reasons to be optimistic.

The world has taken an important step toward controlling climate change by agreeing to the Bali Action Plan at the global negotiations in Indonesia earlier this month. The plan may not look like much, since it basically committed the world to more talking rather than specific actions, but I am optimistic for three reasons.

First, the world was sufficiently united that it forced the United States to end its intransigence. Second, the road map marks a sensible balance of considerations. And, third, realistic solutions are possible, which will allow the world to combine economic development and control of greenhouse gases.

The first step at Bali was to break the deadlock that has crippled the global response to climate change since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol a decade ago. This time the world united, even booing the US lead negotiator until she reversed position and agreed to sign the Bali Action Plan. Likewise, the unwillingness of major developing countries such as China and India to sign on to a plan also seems to be ending, though considerable work remains to craft a global agreement to which both rich and poor countries can agree.

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