The Green Book
Where the Wild Things Were
How Conservation Efforts are Faltering
The Globalization of Animal Welfare
More Food Does Not Require More Suffering
Africa’s Anti-Poaching Problem
How Wildlife Trade Bans Are Failing the Continent's Animals
How Technology Is Transforming Conservation
Animal Rights, Animal Wrongs
The Case for Nonhuman Personhood
The Day the Earth Ran Out
The Causes and Consequences of Earth Overshoot Day
Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now
The Club of Rome’s Problem—and Ours
Is Growth Good?
Resources, Development, and the Future of the Planet
No Wars for Water
Why Climate Change Has Not Led to Conflict
The Devolution of the Seas
The Consequences of Oceanic Destruction
How Yemen Chewed Itself Dry
Farming Qat, Wasting Water
Suicide By Drought
How China is Destroying Its Own Water Supply
A Light in the Forest
Brazil's Fight to Save the Amazon and Climate-Change Diplomacy
The Reincarnation Machine
From Cars to Skyscrapers, Indiana to Shandong
The Great Leap Backward?
Pollution Without Revolution
Why China's Environmental Crisis Won't Bring Down the Regime
Harder to Breathe
India's Pollution Crisis—And What To Do About It
Why We Still Need Nuclear Power
Making Clean Energy Safe and Affordable
Tough Love for Renewable Energy
Making Wind and Solar Power Affordable
Cleaning Up Coal
From Climate Culprit to Solution
Don't Just Drill, Baby -- Drill Carefully
How to Make Fracking Safer for the Environment
How Chinese Innovation is Changing Green Technology
Beijing's Big Gamble on Renewables
The First Cold War
The Environmental Lessons of the Little Ice Age
The Geoengineering Option
A Last Resort Against Global Warming?
The Truth About Geoengineering
Science Fiction and Science Fact
The Climate Threat We Can Beat
What It Is and How to Deal With It
How Big Business Can Save the Climate
Multinational Corporations Can Succeed Where Governments Have Failed
In September 1987, representatives of 24 countries met in Montreal and accomplished a rare feat in international politics: a successful environmental accord. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan later called “perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date,” set the ambitious goal of phasing out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other dangerous chemicals. It worked: by 1996, developed countries had stopped their production and consumption of CFCs, and by 2006, the 191 countries that had ratified the protocol had eliminated 95 percent of global ozone-depleting emissions.
On its surface, the Montreal Protocol was an agreement among countries. Each signatory agreed to report its emissions and face trade sanctions for failing to meet reduction targets. Developed countries committed to help developing countries meet their targets with side payments and technological support. The treaty’s main targets, however, were companies. By preventing the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances within countries, as well as the trade of those substances between countries, the treaty gave multinational corporations a clear and short deadline to find substitutes for the chemicals or face being forced out of the world market. The results were dramatic: the companies responded to the pressure by developing alternative methods, going a long way toward solving the problem at its root.
Unfortunately, this success has not been matched when it comes to the world’s greatest collective challenge: stopping climate change. For 20 years, national governments have sought to slow the heating of the planet and the rise of the oceans by apportioning blame and attempting to spread the financial burden. The vehicle for their efforts, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is a negotiating process aimed at getting countries to commit to reducing their emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, the main cause of global warming. But the UNFCCC has floundered because of disagreements between developed and developing countries; difficulties in credibly measuring, reporting, and verifying emissions reductions; and the power of vested interests in the energy sector.
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