Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Whither Global Carbon Reduction Negotiations--One View

I do not mean to turn this blog into a greenhouse gas reduction blog, but since all energy alternatives are being analyzed these days from the perspective of their ability to help reduce carbon emissions, it is important to keep abreast of developments in this area. It appears that analyses of the outcome of the recent Copenhagen conference and the implications for the future are just beginning to emerge, so in the interests of sharing what I am learning, I wanted to provide my readers with the first cogent discussion of the issues that has come my way.

Today, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published a report called A Post-Copenhagen Pathway. The report is by Sarah O. Ladislaw, a Senior Fellow in the CSIS Energy and National Security Program. The CSIS is a well-respected Washington institution. Founded during the Cold War, it is a bipartisan, nonprofit organization that conducts research and analysis to develop policy options for decisionmakers. Their strategic studies and policy analyses have been used by US government agencies, international organizations, and others.

Of greatest interest is that the report essentially says that the UN process for such negotiations may broken, and it postulates some other options that may be attempted in the future. This conclusion echoes other comments I have been hearing on the outcome of this Conference, and as I learn more, I will try to share it. This particular report stops short of saying the UN process is dead, but it indicates that the final agreement crafted by a small group of countries (the United States, China, Brazil, South Africa and India) was the only thing that salvaged the Copenhagen conference, and it discusses other small groups of countries--particularly, the G20 and the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change (MEF)--that might be able to move the dialogue forward more effectively in the future.

This document does not discuss particular strategies or technologies, so anyone wanting to see a discussion of how nuclear energy might be handled in the future will not find that here. However, for those in the nuclear field who would like to understand more about what is happening on the political front with respect to global greenhouse gas reduction agreements, this is a good read.


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