50+ Years of Climate Effort
Note that this Module is in effect an extension of the Climate Solutions Module, focusing on societal policies and measures as opposed to more technology-oriented “solutions.” There will inevitably be overlap between the two. Carbon pricing as discussed in this Module, for example, could have a huge impact on many of the solutions in the prior Module.
Scientists started raising the alarm over climate change more than 60 years ago. Since then, societal decision-makers have sought to tackle climate change using the strategies successfully deployed to tackle other environmental problems, from air pollution and oil spills to the ozone hole.
These approaches tend to follow a common path, including scientific studies, national or international panels and conferences, followed by national and international agreements on policies and measures intended to tackle the problem. This approach was successful via the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts in the United States, as well as the success (still in process) of national and international efforts to close the ozone hole.
But this strategy hasn't worked for climate change. Despite a vast number of studies and conferences, and a growing worldwide array of policies and measures, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have increased dramatically since scientists began raising the alarm over climate change. Climate change has gone from being a “future problem” to being a "here and now" problem.
The last 30 years of climate change policy advocacy in the U.S. can be likened to a modern-day Charge of the Light Brigade (illustrated above), a failed but glorious frontal assault on a heavily defended artillery position.
Analogously, efforts to pass national climate policy have been turned back repeatedly by the powerful political, economic, and psychological forces defending that position. In effect, Team Urgency has repeatedly reenacted the famous Charge of the Light Brigade against the heavily defended positions of Team No-Urgency. (See the course module on Climate Ches)
Any effort to understand the future of efforts to tackle climate change will benefit from an understanding of what’s been tried to date, and what’s succeeded or failed. That’s what this Module of Your Climate Change PhD help you explore.
- International Agreements
- Regional and Sub-Regional Actions
- Implicit and Explicit Carbon Pricing
- Green New Deal
- Alternative Political Models
- Alternative Economic Models
- Market Mechanisms
- Carbon Offsets