Last week, the 18th round of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) kicked off in Doha, Qatar, a petroleum-rich nation with heavily subsidized fossil fuels and among the cheapest gas prices in the world. It’s perhaps a measure of the international mood that the Qatari government, among the greatest beneficiaries of the conventional energy regime, went as far as to partner behind the scenes with 350.org and other Western NGO’s to organize the first-ever legal protest march in Qatar, calling for action from Arab leaders in curbing CO2 emissions (though Qatar itself has not pledged any cuts). As leaders of major developed and emerging nations now wrangle predictably over who should bear greater responsibility for reining in the industrialized world’s ever-expanding carbon footprint, in the hope of limiting warming to the widely ratified goal of 2°C, the newestclimate study to be released indicates that we are already rapidly falling behind this target. The report suggests we are on track to reach 5°C of total warming by 2100, a temperature level unseen in the biosphere that could render many coastal cities and subtropical regions uninhabitable. It remains to be seen whether the seriousness of the zeitgeist will be matched by a new seriousness in national and international politics. In the meantime, several Triple Crisis experts offer insights into various facets of our dilemma: agriculture, energy, trade and diplomacy. Please join the conversation by leaving comments on the posts below.
Alejandro Nadal, In the Wake of Kyoto’s Protocol
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Edward Barbier, Doha, Fracking, and the Green Economy