Global Warming Gridlock: Creating More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet

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Global Warming Gridlock: Creating More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet
By David G. Victor
Cambridge University Press, 2011
392 pp. $40.00
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According to Victor, the Kyoto Protocol’s target-based approach to climate-change negotiations is fatally flawed, as is the UN-based process by which 193 governments are expected to reach agreement on a complex issue that touches every economy. Drawing on the history of successful international negotiations, Victor counsels greater patience; the term “urgent,” he says, is overused in public discussions of climate change. He argues that a smallish club of the major greenhouse gas emitters (including, of course, China and the United States) should undertake serious negotiations on actions to be taken, not just targets to shoot for. Victor also contends that existing technologies are not likely to limit climate change significantly, and so a major collaborative effort to develop new ones is called for. Given past emissions, some climate change is inevitable, putting a premium on strategies of adaptation. But adapting to climate change, in Victor’s view, will primarily be a local challenge, dependent on local circumstances, not an issue for a grand global bargain.