Comparing National Responses to Global Climate Change

23rd of March 2010, Paris

Summary

Despite international agreements like the Kyoto Protocol, most societies have made little progress on reducing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere to challenge global climate change, and concentrations have continued to climb. Industrial civilization is dependent upon the use of fossil fuels, an addiction hard to break. The future of the world, or at least the hospitality of its environment for human and other life, may now rest in the hands of the few huge carbon dioxide producing (United States, China, India) or absorbing (Brazil) countries. Why have these huge societies been so slow to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions? This public conference will present reports by researchers in these four countries, plus an introduction to the larger comparative project that includes over seventeen countries or areas plus the international level of negotiations.

The project on Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks (Compon) is an international project conducting research on the factors that affect the success of nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (or protect sinks) and thereby mitigate global climate change. To explain variation in national climate change response, the project juxtaposes the persuasion hypothesis against the conflict hypothesis. The persuasion hypothesis argues that societies can learn to reduce carbon voluntarily through persuasion and education. The conflict hypothesis says that the transition will provoke intense contention and only be successful through political victory and imposed regulation.

 The range of countries in the Compon study represents different causal conditions and reactions concerning the mitigation of climate change. While the US, China, India and Brazil are the most consequential in terms of emissions or sinks, the many other countries are also very important because they represent different models and possibilities of reaction to the problem.

"Comparing National Responses to Climate Change/Global Warming", by Jeffrey Broadbent, University of Minnesota, USA

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"Understanding US Climate Politics", by Dana Fisher, Columbia University, USA

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"Brazilian Climate Change Politics", by Myanna Lahsen, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, Brazil

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"India and the Politics of Climate Change", by Sony Pellissery, Institute for Rural Management, Gujarat, India

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"Climate Change Politics in China", by Jun Jin, Tsing Hua University, Beijing, China

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Moderator: Emmanuel Guérin, Climate Programme Director, IDDRI