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After Copenhagen

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Abstract:

Negotiations foundered at the 2009 Copenhagen conference on climate change for three, linked, reasons. The first is widespread climate change denial, which is given disproportionate press coverage, particularly in the wealthier parts of the world: it remains difficult to convince people that their comparative prosperity is linked to unsustainable energy use, and that some change is needed to their lifestyle. The second is the attitude of the USA, where the cuts that were offered in emissions were from a 2005 baseline, in effect a continuation of the earlier refusal to ratify the Kyoto agreement. The third problem is the wealthy countries' market obsession, which leads them to seek a solution in carbon trading, which is a completely ineffective mechanism; and this obsession also prevents them from looking to state intervention to promote major new long-term investment in technology – something private companies are neither able nor willing to do.

Keywords: CARBON TRADING; CLEAN DEVELOPMENT MECHANISM (CDM); CLIMATE CHANGE; CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL; COPENHAGEN CONFERENCE ON CLIMAT CHANGE; ENERGY; KYOTO AGREEMENT

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3898/136266210791036764

Publication date: March 25, 2010

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