Summary of Global Warming Gridlock

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Nations are paralyzed after decades of failing to cut emissions or to slow the pace of climate change. International law expert David G. Victor argues that the only way to break this gridlock is to craft politically feasible policies. He offers solutions based on old-fashioned national self-interest. Though Victor's writing style is academic, he argues persuasively that the environmental framework used by global-warming diplomats will not solve the world’s climate emergency, because that crisis is economic, not environmental. getAbstract recommends Victor’s sophisticated insights into the complicated world of climate-related international diplomacy.

About the Author

David G. Victor, author of The Collapse of the Kyoto Protocol and the Struggle to Slow Global Warming, teaches at the University of California San Diego.



A Global Problem

Carbon dioxide, which persists in the atmosphere for centuries after emission, is the primary industrial greenhouse gas. Like other pollution, it recognizes no borders. To reduce CO2 levels, nations must remove it from their economies. Countries must make the transition to new energy infrastructures, an expensive process that meets with a great deal of resistance. No one country will participate wholeheartedly unless all other countries do the same.

Three Challenges to Climate Policy

Any global warming policy must cut CO2 emissions, provide a framework for new technology and help nations adapt to potentially extreme climate changes. Most efforts to curb emissions have focused on setting targets within definite timetables. Successful diplomacy must start with an understanding of what governments are really able to deliver and not just with what they promise.

A small number of nations are crucial to solving climate change, although eventually all countries must accept the same impositions. Focusing on the main players – the US and China are the biggest emitters – will break the current negotiations gridlock.


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    b. d. 9 years ago
    No need to read the book or the summary. Its the same old biased anti-capitalist screed. We need to elevate the level of debate on such matters and unfortunately Victor is not the one to do so.