Business/SPEA Information Commons

Indiana University Bloomington

Climate talks in Copenhagen: IU professors offer perspectives

Posted by nlgiu on December 11, 2009

U.S., China and India could still be ‘climate heroes.’ It may seem that proponents for tough measures on climate change have fallen on hard times — that global warming has hit the back burner with barely a pilot light to keep it warm. But “keep an eye on that pilot light,” says Matt Auer, professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. For one thing, retired U.S. military leaders, including Anthony Zinni, are calling climate change a “threat multiplier” that could have disastrous consequences for unstable countries like Somalia, Sudan, Kenya and Nigeria.

Leaders of China, India and Pakistan are mindful of these risks and know their countries may suffer from water scarcity as climate change dries up mountain snowpack and disrupts the monsoon season. In international negotiations, Auer argues that the U.S. could still agree to “Kyoto-lite” — a set of targets and a timetable that, in treaty language, look weaker than what most advanced industrialized countries agreed to in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan.  Nevertheless, in volumetric terms, the U.S. would be agreeing to reduce more carbon dioxide than any other single country. Auer also contends that “the U.S., China and India could turn out to be climate heroes if they put their minds to it. . . . China is getting smarter about how it produces and uses energy, with everything from high-tech furnaces at steel mills to newly insulated office buildings now saving energy in Chinese cities. China’s solar power and wind turbine industries compete fiercely with U.S. firms for global market share. …

For the entire article… http://www.indiana.edu/~spea/news/climate_talks_copenhagen.shtml

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